Psychological First Aid. Reducing initial distress caused by traumatic events. Kelly Morris, MAPC LAC. Native Arizonan Married (to a firefighter/paramedic) since 1986 Mother of two sons Master of Arts in Professional Counseling Licensed Associate Counselor, State of AZ
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Reducing initial distress caused by traumatic events
State of AZ
Mental Health Triage is designed to assess whether a person is likely to have a pre-existing mental illness or disorder within the context of an environmental emergency, disaster, etc., and assessing appropriate care.
Designed for delivery by mental health and other disaster response workers within a wide variety of response units:
First responder teams
Health care providers
School crisis response teams
Designed for diverse setting:
Basic objectives of providing early assistance within days or weeks following an event.
Providers should be flexible, and base the amount of time spent on each core action on the survivors’ specific needs and concerns.
To respond to contact initiated by survivors, or initiate contacts in a non-intrusive, compassionate manner.
Goal: To enhance immediate and ongoing safety, and provide physical and emotional comfort.
Goal: To calm and orient emotionally overwhelmed or disoriented survivors.
Current Needs and Concerns
Goal: Identify immediate needs/concerns, gather additional information; tailor
Goal: To offer practical help to survivors in addressing immediate needs and concerns.
Goal: To help establish brief and/or ongoing contacts with primary support persons and other sources of support, including family members, friends, and community helping resources.
Goal: To provide information about stress reactions and coping to reduce distress and promote adaptive functioning.
Goal: Link survivors with available services needed at the time or in the future.
Approximately 50% of disaster workers are likely to develop significant distress (Meyers & Wee, 2005).
Terrorism likely to affect majority of population (IOM, 2003); Ranges from 40-90%.
As many as 45% of those directly exposed to mass disasters may develop PTSD or Depression (North, et al., JAMA)
Providing care & support in the immediate aftermath of disaster can be an enriching profession and personal experience through helping others.
It can also be physically and emotionally exhausting.
Consider your current health, family, work circumstances.
Assess your comfort level with the various situations you may experiencing while providing PFA.
Take time to prepare for:
In providing PFA, it is important to recognize common and extreme stress reactions, how organizations can reduce the risk of extreme stress to providers, and how best to take care of yourself during your work.
There are a number of common responses
when working with survivors:
Provider Self-Care (Proactivity)
Use stress management tools regularly, such as:
Identify, utilize, and maintain self-care now:
Your well-being will be enhanced…
You will have increased the probability of a favorable outcome of a disaster because you have increased:
Not only for survivors, but for yourself!