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Psychological First Aid

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Psychological First Aid

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PAHO document created by the Ink Link team (www.theinklink.org). Illustration and graphic design by Emma Tissier & Hélène Pouille. Evaluation by Laure Garancher & Olivier Coldefy.

PAHO document created by the Ink Link team (www.theinklink.org). Illustration and graphic design by Emma Tissier & Hélène Pouille. Evaluation by Laure Garancher & Olivier Coldefy.

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Psychological First Aid

  1. 1. PsychologicalFirstAid.StrongerTogether.Aguidetohelpyouandyourcommunity PAHO/NMH/19-015 ©PanAmericanHealthOrganization2019 Allrightsreserved.PublicationsofthePanAmericanHealthOrganization(PAHO)areavailableatwww.paho.org.Requests forpermissiontoreproduceortranslateitspublicationsshouldbeaddressedtothePublicationsProgramthroughthewebsite (www.paho.org/permissions). AllreasonableprecautionshavebeentakenbyAllreasonableprecautionshavebeentakenbyPAHOtoverifytheinformationcontainedinthispublication.However,the publishedmaterialisbeingdistributedwithoutwarrantyofanykind,eitherexpressedorimplied.Theresponsibilityforthe interpretationanduseofthemateriallieswiththereader.InnoeventshallPAHObeliablefordamagesarisingfromitsuse.
  2. 2. CreatedbytheInkLinkteam(www.theinklink.org).IllustrationandgraphicdesignbyEmmaTissier&HélènePouille.EvaluationbyLaureGarancher&OlivierColdefy. ThePanAmericanHealthOrganizationandtheCaribbeanDevelopmentBank developedthisbookletasatooltohelpyoutakecareofyourselfandyourcommunity duringcrisissituations.Thisisachievedthroughpsychologicalfirstaid,alsoknown asPFA,ahumane,supportiveandpracticalresponsetoafellowhumanbeingwho issufferingandmayneedsupport. InInthisbooklet,our“PFAhelper”willguideyouthroughthethreebasicprinciplesof PFA:look,listenandlink.Thiswillhelpyoutoapproachaffectedpeople,listenand understandtheirneeds,andlinkthemwithpracticalsupportandinformation.Itwill alsobringtoyourattentiontheneedsofspecificgroups,includingmen,women, childrenandadolescents,andpeoplewithdisabilities,amongothers. OnlyanadultshouldbeaPFAhelper. EnjoyEnjoythebooklet,readitagainfromtimetotime,shareitwithfriends,familyand membersofyourcommunity,andspreadthemessage: “StrongerTogether.”
  3. 3. Thisguidewillhelpyoutoknowthemostsupportivethings tosayanddofordistressedpeople. Peoplewho aresuffering mayneed support.
  4. 4. L O O K LOOK
  5. 5. L O O K becalm besafe thinkbeforeyouact LOOK YOURSafetyfirst! Crisissituationschangerapidly: •Weatherconditions •Flooding •Buildingsthatmaycollapse... Taketimeto«look»aroundyou beforeofferinghelp. PFAshouldbeprovidedbyadults.
  6. 6. L O O K IFYOUCANNOTACT,LOOK FORHELPORTRAINEDPEOPLE Shelter, food, water? Protectionfrom theweather, clothing?Needrescuing,such aspeopletrappedor inimmediatedanger? Criticallyinjuredand inneedofemergency, medicalhelp? BASICNEEDS?LIfEthreatening conditions?
  7. 7. L O O K Emotionallynumb, feeling“outofit” ordisconnected Shaking,headhaches, feelingverytired, lossofappetite... Notknowingtheirownname orwhathappened... Anger, anxiety &fear Peoplemayreactinvariouswaystoacrisis,immediatelyafterandinthefollowingdays. Severelydistressedpeople shouldnotbeleftalone! Trytokeepthemsafe untilthereactionpasses oruntilyoucanfindhelp. •children&adolescents •peoplewithhealthconditions orphysicalandmentaldisabilities
  8. 8. L I S T E N LISTEN
  9. 9. L I S T E N LISTEN Donotpressure anyonetotellyou whattheyhave beenthrough Somepeoplemaynotwantto speakaboutwhathashappened. However,theymayvalueitif youstaywiththemquietly,or offerpracticalsupportlikea mealoraglassofwater Eyecontact Facialexpressions Gestures Beawareof wordsand bodylanguage Howtolistenproperly
  10. 10. L I S T E N ... Helpthepersonfeelcomfortable. Findasafeandquietplacetotalk. Offerwaterifyoucan. Bepatientandcalm Stayclosebut keepanappropriate distance Listeniftheywanttotalk aboutwhathappened LetthemknowthatLetthemknowthat youarelistening. Nodyourheadorsay “hmmmm…” Behonestaboutwhatyou knowanddon’tknow Acknowledge feelings&loss Acknowledge strength Allowforsilence togivetheperson timetoshare
  11. 11. L I S T E N Youcanhelpthembyfollowingthesetips! Somepeoplemayfeel“outofit”ordisconnected. Forexample,theymaystayisolatedornotanswer. Theymaylook“lost”,notknowwhathappened orfeeltheydon’tknowwheretheyare...
  12. 12. L I S T E N Don’ttell themsomeone else’sstory Don’ttalk aboutyour owntroubles Don’tmake upthingsyou don’tknow Don’tinterruptor rushsomeone’sstory (don’tlookatyourwatch orspeakrapidly...) Theyhavetofeeltheirstrength andcapacitytocareforthemselves
  13. 13. link L I N K
  14. 14. L I N K link Helppeopleaddress basicneedsandaccess services Followupwithpeopleifyoupromisetodoso
  15. 15. L I N K Apersonindistress canfeeloverwhelmed ...Helpthemtoconsidertheirmost urgentneeds,andhowtoprioritize andaddressthem. Beingabletomanageafewissueswill givethepersonagreatersenseof controlinthesituationandstrengthen theirownabilitytocope!
  16. 16. L I N K Whattodo? Onlysaywhatyouknow Donotmakeupinformationorgivefalsereassurances Keepmessagessimpleandaccurate Repeatthemessagetobesurepeoplehearandunderstandit Rumourswillbecommon! Findoutwheretogetcorrectinformation&when&wheretogetupdates Makesurethatvulnerablepeoplealsoknowaboutexistingservices
  17. 17. SPECIAL NEEDS
  18. 18. -Returntoearlierbehaviors (e.g.:bed-wettingorthumb-sucking) -Clingtocaregivers -Reducetheirplayoruserepetitive playrelatedtothedistressingevent -Believetheycausedbad thingstohappen -Developnewfears -Becomelessaffectionate -Feelalone -Becomepreoccupiedwith protectingorrescuingpeopleprotectingorrescuingpeople -Feel“nothing” -Feeldifferentfromor isolatedfromtheirfriends -Displayriskybehavior &negativeattitudes -Providefactsaboutwhathappenedand explainwhatishappeningnow -Allowthemtobesad -Don’texpectthemtobetough -Listentotheirthoughts&fearswithout beingjudgmental -Setclearrules&expectations-Setclearrules&expectations -Askthemaboutthedangerstheyface &discusshowtheycanbeavoided -Encouragethemtobehelpful -Remindthemoftenthattheyaresafe -Explainthattheyarenottoblamefor badthingsthathappened -Givesimpleanswersaboutwhathappened, withoutscarydetails -Allowthemtostayclosetoyouiftheyare-Allowthemtostayclosetoyouiftheyare fearful -Bepatientwithchildrenwhostart demonstratingproblembehaviorsfromwhen theywereyounger -Provideachancetoplayandrelax -Keepthemwarmandsafe -Keepthemawayfromloudnoises andchaos -Speakinacalmandsoftvoice -Givethemcuddlesandhugs
  19. 19. Staywiththepersonortrytomake suretheyhavesomeonetohelp themifyouneedtoleave Considerlinkingthepersonwitha protectionagencyorotherrelevant support,tohelptheminthelongertermsupport,tohelptheminthelongerterm
  20. 20. Butif, you,orpeoplearoundyou, stillexperiencedistressful reactions,likenightmares, flashbacks,orintensesadness, itistimetoseekprofessionalhelp Talkwithahealthcareprofessionalwith mentalhealthtraining,ifavailable Itisnormaltofeelsad,upset ortoexperiencestrongemotions
  21. 21. Asahelper,youmayfeel responsibleforpeople’s safety&care Helppeople helpthemselves! Rememberthatyouarenot responsibleforsolving everyone’sproblems Thinkaboutwhathelpedyouto copewithstressinthepast Checkhowfellowhelpers aredoing.Findways tosupporteachother Youmaywitnessorexperience terriblethings(destruction,injury, deathorviolence)andhearstories ofotherpeople’spainandsuffering Alloftheseexperiencescan affectyou Talkaboutyourexperienceof helpinginthecrisissituation withfriends,lovedonesorother peopleyoutrustforsupport. Acknowledgewhatyouwereable todotohelp,eveninsmallways. Acceptthelimitsofwhatyoucould dointhecircumstances. Evenduringthecrisis,taketimeforyourself. Managestressbyhavinghealthyhabits: -Keepreasonableworkinghourstoavoidexhaustion -Dividetheworkloadamonghelpers,workinginshifts duringtheinitialrecoveryphase -Takeregularrestbreaks

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