Crisis, both small scale and of large scale happens in every part of the world. We all know of the first aid that is provided when a person is affected by any kind of physical concern. Did you know that first aid is also available for the mind? In case of events such as natural disaster status attacks, war, disease outbreak, large scale displacement of people, etc. psychological first aid is provided.
What is psychological first aid?
Psychological first aid (PFA) is an initial disaster response intervention offered to fellow human beings who need support. The aim of psychological first aid is to promote safety, stabilize the survivors and respond to the psychosocial needs of the people who are suffering the effects of the disaster. Not only are civilians’ recipients of psychological first aid, but it can also be offered to first responders and relief workers. One of the very basic things of psychological first aid is to take care of the immediate needs and concerns that the individuals affected by the disaster has. Instead of focusing on the therapy.
Psychological first aid is aimed at reducing the physical, social, and emotional consequences of the people affected by issues. Psychological first aid is also provided in small scale events such as robbery, assault, accidents, etc., where there are only a few people, or one person affected. Psychological first aid is a non-intrusive practical care and support that is provided to the people in need. It assesses the needs and concerns of people and help people to address the basic needs such as food and water. The emphasis in psychological first aid is given to listening, but not pressuring people into talking. It is also important to comfort people and help them feel calm and also aid them in case they need any further services or social support. It also involves increasing the access that these people have to information And preventing them from further harm.
Psychological first aid is provided due to the understanding that people tend to do better long term if they feel safe and connected to others and stay calm. It also helps them in healing when they have access to social, physical, and emotional support and regain a sense of control by being able to help themselves.
People of any gender who has recently experienced a crisis event and add facing distress can benefit from psychological first aid. It is usually provided to people immediately following a crisis event. psychological first aid should be provided in a place where there is no immediate danger and is safe for the helper and the affected person. Ideally, privacy would be recommended.
When administering psychological first aid, the first thing is to listen. Ensure that you adapt to the person's culture. Ensure their safety by removing them from immediate harm. Treat people with respect and as per their culture and social norms. Do not show any storm of bias or discrimination and ensure access to impartial assistance without any stereotype or prejudice. Offer help to these people, in claiming their rights and access to available support. Be honest and trustworthy and respect their ability to make their own decisions. In case the person refuses your help now, ensure that they know that they can still access help in the future. Respect the person's privacy and keep whatever they say confidential, as appropriate.
A few don'ts of psychological first aid is to not exploit your relationship as a helper. Ask the person for money in exchange for your service. Make false promises or give false information. Refrain from exaggerating skills and being pushy, or force people to receive help. Do not share the personal story with anyone else and also don't judge the person for their actions or feelings.
A few action principles of Psychological First State are prepare, look, listen, and link.
· Prepare: While you're offering psychological first state, it is important to learn about the crisis event and make sure you have enough information about the services and supports available. Be aware of all safety and security concerns.
· Look: Before offering first aid observer safety, look after any urgent basic needs for the people and any serious distress reactions in them.
· Listen: It is your responsibility as a person administering psychological first day to contact the people who may potentially need support. Ask them about their needs and concerns and listen to them attentively and help them feel calm.
· Link: A huge part of psychological first state is linking these people to address their basic needs and access services. It is important to help people cope with their problems and give them information. Connecting people affected by the issue with dead loved ones or offering social support is also another important factor.
A few good practices while doing psychological first date is to find a quiet place to talk where there are minimal distractions. Staying near the person while giving them appropriate distance is also recommended. Listening to what their saying ensured that they know that you are listening attentively by nodding your head when appropriate. If you are unaware of any information that they seek, let them know that you do not have that information yet and that you would look into it, and follow up on the promise. When providing the person with any sort of information, make sure that they are able to understand, so provide the information in simple terms. Acknowledge their feelings and any losses. Acknowledge any strength of the person and how they have helped themselves.
Never interrupt people while they are speaking. Do not offer your opinion simply listen. Although it might be difficult, do not make false promises or false reassurances and do not tell them anyone else's story. Do not feel that you have to solve all the problems for the other person. When offering psychological first aid, a few people would require special attention. These include children and adults and people with health conditions and disabilities, and individuals who are at the risk of discrimination or violence.
Though psychological first aid is the first aid for mind. It is not something that only therapist in Dubai can do, and it is not professional counselling or therapy. It cannot be considered simply as psychological debriefing. Additionally, it does not involve affected people to analyze what happened and put the time and events in order. Before offering psychological first aid to someone else, make sure that you are ready to help and take care of yourself.
Kaizen Wellbeing is an online therapy platform in Dubai, UAE that caters to South Asian community. There is a dearth of good therapy establishments that accommodate the mental health needs of the brown community. We aim to bridge that gap by providing you quality and affordable care by qualified and warm therapists. Reach out at email@example.com or +971 50 961 8796 and book your first session towards understanding yourself and other’s better.
If you have any queries please put them down in the comments section and we will try our best to answer them and help you out.