PSYCHOLOGICAL FIRST AID:
PFA is humane, supportive and practical assistance to fellow human beings who recently suffered a serious stressor.
1. Non intrusive, practical care and support.
2. Assessing needs and concerns.
3. Helping people to address basic needs ( food. water).
4. Listening, but not pressuring people to talk.
5. Comforting people and helping them to feel calm.
6.Helping people connect to information, services and social supports.
7. Protecting people from further harm.
PFA is not:
1. Not something only professionals can do.
2. Not professional counselling.
3. Not a clinical or psychiatric intervention.
4. Not psychological debriefing.
5. Not asking people to analyse what happened or put time and events in order.
6. Not pressuring people to tell you their story or asking details about how they feel or what happened.
PFA action principles:
PREPARE: learn about the crisis event, learn about available services and supports, learn about safety and security concerns.
LOOK: observe for safety, observe for people with obvious urgent basic needs, observe for people with serious distress reactions.
LISTEN: make contact with people who may need support, ask about peoples needs and concerns, listen to people and help them feel calm.
LINK: help people address basic needs and access services, help people cope with problems, give information, connect people with loved ones and social support.
Dignity in Mental Health: PFA for all
* PFA can be provided by professionals and non professionals alike.
*Everyone should have access to PFA following a crisis event as part of the spectrum of mental health and psychosocial support.
*PFA is widely used for disaster preparedness and response by governments and NGOs.
Many countries i.e. Europe, Suriname, Iraq, Gaza, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Japan, West Africa and central and eastern Europe are being trained to practice PFA. Training is being given by the government to psychosocial support staff, local agencies, police, medical personnel, nurses, family members, humanitarian aid staff, emergency duty staff, local villagers, burial team staff and NGOs to combat the raging pandemic in a more humanitarian perspective.
Thus PFA in general make people feel better and safe. It makes people feel connected to others, calm and hopeful. Through PFA we can have access to social, physical and emotional support and regain a sense of control by being able to help ourselves.
When will mental health be a priority in this country?
Such an essential form of health care. And yes, I agree, it needs to be more easily accessible and definitely more readily acceptable in this country as well.