Our Mental and Addiction Health team have created a Psychological First Aid (PFA) course to equip our staff with the skills to help someone in distress.
Psychological First Aid (PFA) is a humane and supportive response to someone who is suffering and may need support. By listening to people and helping them feel calm, it can open up an opportunity to connect them to helpful information, services, social supports and remind them of their own strengths.
Cultural Diversity Project Officer Erin Joyce, helped create the Learning Exchange (LEX) course and said that it’s a helpful guide not only for clinical staff, but for all disciplines across the organisation.
“It’s helpful for those moments when in your heart, you know you want to help, but you don’t know how to translate that into action,” Erin said.
The three basic principles of PFA are Look, Listen and Link. These principles help guide people on how to safely enter a crisis situation, approach people with distress reactions and understand their needs to link them with practical support and information.
People’s responses and reactions to the COVID-19 crisis will vary, distress reactions are normal during a crisis however some people will be more overt in showing signs of distress, where others are less obvious. Some things that may affect someone’s stress response can include factors such as their previous experience to distressing events, their health, age and cultural background.
The PFA course provides staff with a clear and simple framework to follow should they find themselves in a position where they choose to support someone showing distress, whether they be a fellow colleague, a patient or member of the community - or if they find themselves needing some self-care.