Psychology First Aid: Action Principles

by cadabamshospital

24 October,2016 | 4 years read

[caption id="attachment_188" align="aligncenter" width="300"]psychological first aid, mental health first aid, action plan Psychology First Aid: Action Principles[/caption]


1.    Prepare ü Learn about the crisis event

ü Learn about the available services.

ü Learn about safety and security concerns.

2.    Look


ü Check for safety

ü Check for people with obvious urgent basic needs

ü Check for people with serious distress reactions

3.    Listen ü Approach people who may need support

ü Ask about people’s needs and concerns

ü Listen to people and help them feel calm

4.    Link ü Help people address basic needs and access services

ü Help people cope with problems

ü Give information

ü Connect people with loved ones and social support

  1. Prepare
  • Crisis situations can be tumultuous and chaotic hence it is advised to be prepared.
  • Before you enter a crisis site, try to gather accurate information about the event in question.
  • Note down and keep a book handy in which you have written down services and help providers contact details. This book would also help you track down identities of victims and note down their important information.
  • Equip yourself about the safety and security concerns. This will not only keep you safe but also be effective help for others.
Prepare Before you enter a crisis site, know and learn about:-
ü The Crisis Event


·      What happened?

·      Where did it happen?

·      When did it happen?

·      How many and who are affected?

ü Available Services


·      Who is providing for basic needs (emergency medical care, food, shelter)?

·      When and where can people access services?

·      Who is helping, including community members?

ü Safety and Security


·      Is the crisis over or ongoing (aftershocks, fighting)?

·      What dangers may be in the environment?

·      Are there places to avoid due to insecurity or because it is not permitted to be there?


  1. Look
  • Crisis situations can change rapidly
  • What you have to do there may be different from what you learned before.
  • Do a quick scan to look around before offering help
  • Be calm
  • Be safe
  • Think before you act
   Safety •      Scan for dangers.

•      Be there only if you can keep yourself and others safe.

•      If you are unsure of your safety, don’t enter that place.

•      Communicate from a safe distance.

   People with obvious urgent basic needs. •      Is anyone critically injured

•      Does anyone need rescue?

•      Does anyone have obvious needs

•      (e.g., clothes, blanket, food, water)?

•      Who may need help to access

services or to be protected?

•      Who else is available to help?

•      Know your role.

•      Try to obtain

help for people who need

special assistance.

•      Refer critically injured people

for care.

   People with serious distress. •      How many and where are they?

•      Is anyone extremely upset,

immobile, not responding to others or

in shock?

•      Consider who can benefit from PFA and how best to help them.
  1. Listen


   Make contact •      Approach respectfully

•      Introduce yourself by name & organization

•      Ask if you can provide help.

•      Help person feel comfortable (water, blanket)

•      Try to keep them safe.

   Ask about needs & concerns •      Although some needs are obvious, always ask

•      Find out person’s priorities – what is most important to them.

   Listen & help people feel calm •      Stay close to the person

•      Do not pressure them to talk

•      Listen in case they want to talk

•      If very distressed, help them feel calm & make sure they are not alone.

  1. Link

Help people to help themselves and regain control of their situation.

  • Find accurate information before helping.
  • Keep updated
  • Make sure people are informed where and how to access services especially vulnerable individuals.
  • Do not make up information, say only what you know.
  • Keep messages simple and accurate, repeat often
  • Give same information to groups to avoid rumours.
  • Explain source and reliability of info you give
  • Let them know when/where you will update any future information.

Are you looking for Psychology First Aid treatment? Call us to book an appointment with our counsellor or mental health professional.

   Basic Needs •      What needs do they request?

•      What services are available?

•      Don’t overlook the needs of

vulnerable or marginalized


•      Follow up if you promised to do so.

   Help people cope with problems. •      Help them prioritize urgent needs (what to do first)

•      Help them identify supports in their life

•      Give practical suggestions how they can meet their needs (e.g. registering for food aid)

•      Encourage them to cope better; this will help them feel better.

   Social support •      Keep children with their caregivers and families together.

•      Help them contact their friends and loved ones.

•      Provide them religious support. (e.g. Holy books, etc.)

•      Make sure people know how to access services.


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