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Eng Course Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers- Download Free PDF

When terrible things happen in our communities, countries and the world, we want to
reach out a helping hand to those who are affected. This guide covers psychological
first aid which involves humane, supportive and practical help to fellow human beings
suffering serious crisis events. It is written for people in a position to help others who have
experienced an extremely distressing event. It gives a framework for supporting people in
ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities. Despite its name, psychological first
aid covers both social and psychological support.
Perhaps you are called upon as a staff member or volunteer to help in a major disaster, or you
find yourself at the scene of an accident where people are hurt. Perhaps you are a teacher or
health worker talking with someone from your community who has just witnessed the violent
death of a loved one. This guide will help you to know the most supportive things to say and
do for people who are very distressed. It will also give you information on how to approach a
new situation safely for yourself and others, and not to cause harm by your actions.
Psychological first aid has been recommended by many international and national
expert groups, including the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Sphere
Project. Psychological first aid is an alternative to psychological debriefing. In 2009, the
World Health Organization’s (WHO) mhGAP Guidelines Development Group evaluated
the evidence for psychological first aid and psychological debriefing. They concluded
that psychological first aid, rather than psychological debriefing, should be offered to
people in severe distress after being recently exposed to a traumatic event.
This guide was developed in order to have widely agreed upon psychological first aid
materials for use in low and middle income countries. The information we have given
here is a model only. You will need to adapt it appropriately to the local context and the
culture of the people you will help.
This guide – endorsed by many international agencies – reflects the emerging science
and international consensus on how to support people in the immediate aftermath of
extremely stressful events.

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