Psychological first aid as pre-deployment training for responders

Psychological First Aid Training

Apart from the very real possibility of suffering psychologically in critical incidents, aid workers and first responders are usually responsible for offering emotional comfort to disaster victims. However, there is a lack of emergency preparedness and training for the task of offering psychosocial care to victims in common disaster relief protocols.

The main aims of the stakeholder interviews before deployment are to understand the mental health needs of aid workers and first responders, to understand the current policy of promoting mental health among aid workers, and to explore the feasibility of training in some endorsed interventions such as psychological first aid.

Managerial and human resources personnel in international NGOs and government departments in the region were invited to participate in one-hour, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews. The interview questions were informed by previous literature and covered general views on and experience with mental health needs among aid workers, the current mental health policy in the interviewee’s organisation, use of mental health services before and after deployment, identifiable barriers to the use of services, and the possibility of pre-deployment training in psychological first aid.

This project aims to achieve three objectives:

Project Duration 
2 Years (2011-2012) 

This project was supported by the CCOUC seed grant and The Chinese University of Hong Kong JC School of Public Health and Primary Care Student Research Grant.