Embracing techniques of psychological first aid to help others

Responders must ideally be trained in the essential techniques of psychological first aid (PFA) before they can effectively help others cope with the traumatic effects of a crisis.

WOU’s School of Education, Humanities & Social Sciences (SEHS) lecturer Dr Chong Chew Wuei was speaking on “Psychological First Aid: Helping Each Other during a Crisis’ . About 40 people attended the online public talk jointly organised today by SEHS and the Penang Regional Centre.

PSYCHOLOGICAL FIRST AID SEEKS TO REDUCE THE TRAUMATIC EFFECTS OF A CRISIS AND HELP PEOPLE COPE.

He defined PFA as “a way to help people deal with the early reaction to traumatic events”. He said a responder does not need experience or certification but must know the basic techniques. He highlighted that people have a certain natural threshold to cope with crisis and once that is breached, it can lead to clinical depression or other serious consequences, and so the person would then need professional help.

Dr Chong provided five techniques of PFA for a responder/helper– safety; calm; connectedness; efficacy; and hope. The helper should follow the safety SOP regardless of the crisis, meet the person’s basic needs, e.g. food, clothing, shelter, and recommend the use of trusted sources of information.

ONE OF THE TECHNIQUES OR ELEMENTS OF PFA IS SAFETY.

Next, the responder must be calm themselves before they can help another person. “Speak slowly, maintain an active listening posture, have eye contact and no crossing of arms. When talking about their issue, try to normalise their distress reactions, say it is normal, everyone will experience it. Limit their news intake.”

For connectedness, the responder should encourage the person to have social connections and maintain contacts with friends or loved ones. If needed, they can offer ongoing support or refer the person to suitable NGOs.

DR CHONG IS A LECTURER AT THE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION, HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES.

Efficacy, he elaborated, is helping the person lead a normal life. “Identify what they can control and cannot control (e.g. interstate travel), and get them to focus on the controllables.” He urged participants to focus on meeting the person’s current needs e.g. finances, and to help set realistic goals, prioritise tasks, and schedule self-care in their daily routine. “Cultural, religious, spiritual routines e.g. prayer, can help,” he added.

Dr Chong said the most important element of PFA is offering hope. “Reassure they are not alone; we are all going through this together. Tell them that the crisis will end, that feeling distress is normal and there is nothing wrong in asking for help. Be kind and show you care. Help the person find something good from the experience. “

OFFERING HOPE TO THE PERSON UNDER STRESS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

He stressed that a responder of PFA must be prepared to help, being equipped with the required information and emotionally ready to offer support.  The responder should look out for people with obvious urgent basic needs or with distress reactions (e.g. despair, loss of appetite, numb, confused, crying for no reason, etc), listen, acknowledge the person’s concerns, and link the person to the help, including access to finances or social support.

During Q&A, he said anyone can be a responder and that SEHS is planning to organise training workshops on PFA.

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp
On Key

Related Posts

Selva
Posted by Selva
January 13, 2023

New DiGiT School recognised for innovative study model

WOU’s new School of Digital Technology (DiGiT) has...

Read More
Peng Lin
Posted by Peng Lin
January 10, 2023

Promoting a lifelong learning mindset

WOU kick-started the new academic year by welcoming...

Read More
Peng Lin
Posted by Peng Lin
December 16, 2022

Understanding learning capitals in a learner-centred approach

In the shift to a learner-centric approach, educators...

Read More
Selva
Posted by Selva
December 6, 2022

WOU gives back: Solidarity in fighting cancer

The passion for volunteerism and philanthropic spirit is...

Read More
Peng Lin
Posted by Peng Lin
December 5, 2022

Grad remembers a dear father

As with any graduates, Deanmozhi Seetha Pathi was...

Read More
Selva
Posted by Selva
December 1, 2022

Over 1,100 graduates at WOU’s 13th convocation ceremony

The University had the highest number of graduating...

Read More
Natasha Goh
Posted by Natasha Goh
November 30, 2022

Animal Interactions Put Smiles on Children’s Faces

With the exception of trips to the zoo,...

Read More
Natasha Goh
Posted by Natasha Goh
November 25, 2022

Primary students master Word Problems the visual way

For many pupils, solving mathematical word problems is...

Read More
Natasha Goh
Posted by Natasha Goh
November 24, 2022
Natasha Goh
Posted by Natasha Goh
November 22, 2022
Natasha Goh
Posted by Natasha Goh
November 2, 2022

An Approach to Understanding Current Issues and Philosophy

In addition to knowledge and abilities, the most...

Read More
Natasha Goh
Posted by Natasha Goh
October 28, 2022

Students at WOU Strive for Every Child's Happiness

Passion and commitment can make a significant difference...

Read More
We use cookies to give you the best experience.