Discussion: Psychological First Aid
You probably are familiar with medical first aid, the immediate but limited care provided to survivors suffering a medical emergency. Medical first aid usually is employed at the scene of disasters, crises, and traumas to help survivors who have been physically injured. For example, an army medic will try to stop the bleeding of a wounded soldier before removing him or her from the battlefield for further treatment. Psychological first aid is similar to medical first aid in that early intervention is provided at the scene, immediate needs are addressed first, and the likelihood of recovery improves as a result.
In the aftermath of a disaster, crisis, or trauma, the use of psychological first aid can lessen the negative psychological impact of the event on survivors. Crisis workers employing psychological first aid might start with making connections with survivors, enhancing their safety, and providing them with physical and emotional comfort. They might also offer practical assistance, such as helping survivors complete paperwork, providing information about community support resources, and explaining effective coping strategies. All of these actions can have a powerful influence on how well survivors cope during the aftermath of a disaster, crisis, or trauma.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Think about the purpose of psychological first aid and how it is used during the initial response to survivors of disasters, crises, and traumas.
- Identify the core action assigned to you in the Week 4 Discussion: Core Action Assignments Announcement area. Reflect on the primary goal associated with the core action. Also, consider response practices related to the core action, and think about how employing these practices might help support survivors of disasters, crises, and traumas.
- Reflect on a disaster, crisis, or trauma with which you are familiar. Think about the physical and psychological needs of survivors in its aftermath. Consider how you might apply your assigned core action to best address the survivors’ needs.
With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 4
Post a description of the psychological first aid core action that you were assigned. In your description, be sure to include the primary goal of the core action, response practices associated with the core action, and the significance of the core action in the psychological first aid model. Then, explain how you might apply the core action to a specific disaster, crisis, or trauma. Provide examples to illustrate your explanation. Be sure to protect the identity of any real persons used in the example, including yourself. This is not intended as a venue for self-disclosure of very personal issues. No identifying information should be used.