Training Materials

Psychological First Aid

This is a set of materials on psychological first aid. These include an introductory book called A Guide to Psychological First Aid for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and a small booklet, A Short Introduction to Psychological First Aid for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The training modules include: Module 1 – Introduction, Module 2 – Basic PFA, Module 3- Children, and Module 4 – Groups.

A Guide to Psychological First Aid

A Guide to Psychological First Aid is small booklet on PFA, and four training modules on psychological first aid. This guide has general information about psychological first aid. It can be used on its own for psycho-education and as a reference for the training modules that accompany it.

A Short Introduction to Psychological First Aid

This is an introductory guide to psychological First Aid for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Psychological first aid is a simple, yet powerful way of helping someone in distress. It involves paying attention to the person’s reactions, active listening and if relevant, practical assistance to help address immediate problems and basic needs. Learning psychological first aid skills and understanding reactions to crises empowers helpers to help others and apply the same skills to their own lives.

Module 1 – Introduction

This half-day training module introduces participants to basic skills in psychological first aid (PFA). It is suitable for all Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers working in any sector. It aims to enable participants to:

  • know what psychological first aid is and what it is not
  • understand the three action principles of ‘Look, Listen and Link’
  • practise providing PFA to someone in distress
  • be aware of the importance of self-care when helping others.
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Module 2 – Basic Psychological First Aid

This training introduces participants to basic psychological first aid (PFA). The activities take between eight to nine hours and can be run in one long day OR over one-and-a-half days. It includes managing complex situations and reactions and guides helpers in selfcare. The training is suitable for all psychosocial staff and volunteers and others providing direct care and support to people in distress.

It aims to enable participants to:

  • know more about reactions to distress
  • know what psychological first aid is and what it is not
  • understand the three action principles of ‘Look, Listen and Link’
  • have practised providing PFA to someone in distress
  • have considered complex reactions and situations
  • be aware of the importance of self-care when helping others.
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Psychological First Aid Module 2 on Basic Psychological First Aid includes a powerpoint presentation for the training.

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Module 3 – Children

This training introduces participants to psychological first aid for children. The activities take between eight to nine hours and can be run over one in one long day or over one-and-a-half days. The training has been developed for staff and volunteers working with psychosocial support for children and those providing direct care and support to children and their caregivers in distress, such as nurses, teachers, social workers, health volunteers or ambulance workers.

It aims to enable participants to:

  • know more about children’s reactions to distress
  • know what psychological first aid for children is and what it is not
  • understand the three action principles of ‘Look, Listen and Link’ in relation to children
  • have practised providing PFA to a child and caregiver in distress
  • have considered complex reactions and situations
  • be aware of the importance of self-care when helping others.
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Psychological First Aid Module 3 on children includes a powerpoint presentation for the training.

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Module 4 – Groups

This three-day training introduces participants to ‘PFA in Groups – Support to teams.’ It has been developed for trained psychosocial staff or volunteers, team leaders, managers or others with responsibility for the well-being of teams of Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies staff or volunteers.

The training enables participants to:

  • assess if a PFA and support meeting is needed
  • prepare for a PFA and support meeting
  • run a PFA and support meeting
  • manage time and facilitate the meeting so everyone feels included
  • handle difficult reactions and disclosures
  • manage group participation, dynamics and interactions
  • promote peer support
  • provide PFA to individuals and support to the group at the same time
  • know when and how to refer a person for additional help
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Technical MHPSSiE Tools/Toolkits

Online Psychological First Aid in the COVID-19 Outbreak Response

The Basic training in PFA for COVID19 outbreak response package is developed in response to the urgent need for training on how to support people in distress because of the COVID-19 outbreak. It can be used by trainers around the world. Run the interactive on-line training using the accompanying PowerPoints, videos, participant’s worksheet or record the training for participants to follow when it fits their schedule. The training can be translated into any language and adapted to any context.

Online Psychological First Aid Training for COVID-19

The training includes an introduction to what psychological first aid is; an exploration of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in the local context; expected reactions to the impact; how to help people in distress (PFA); and self-care. The training is based on reference and training material developed by the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, which uses the approach recommended by WHO of following the LOOK, LISTEN and LINK action principles.

Additional module: Caring for staff and volunteers

The training module starts with an exploration of the particular risks to well-being faced by Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers working in the COVID-19 response. Different ways of providing support are introduced, and attention is paid to both individual support and group support. The training also looks at setting up peer support and buddy systems, and ends with focus on supportive supervision and monitoring and evaluation. Participants also watch some short videos by team leaders, providing information and tips on how to provide support in this time.

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Additional module: Remote supportive communication

This is an additional module to the basic training on psychological first aid in the COVID-19 outbreak response for staff and volunteers in Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. It is developed for people who have taken part in the basic training and have foundational knowledge of psychological first aid and how it can be applied in the response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Additional module: Loss & Grief

This is an additional module to the basic training on psychological first aid in the COVID-19 outbreak response for staff and volunteers in Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. It is developed for people who have taken part in the basic training and have foundational knowledge of psychological first aid and how it can be applied in the response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Additional module: Psychological First Aid for Children

This is an additional module to the basic training on psychological first aid in the COVID-19 outbreak response for staff and volunteers in Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies. It is developed for people who have taken part in the basic training and have foundational knowledge of psychological first aid and how it can be applied in the response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Tools Related to Surge & Emergency Response

Caring for Staff and Volunteers During Emergencies

Key actions on caring for volunteers in COVID-19: mental health and psychosocial considerations

Key actions on caring for volunteers in COVID-19 is a quick reference tool for National Societies in providing effective care and support to volunteers during the different phases of a COVID-19 response.

Volunteering in response to COVID-19: spontaneous volunteers

This leaflet introduces new volunteers who are responding to COVID-19 and welcomes them to the Red Cross Red Crescent Movemement. It provides them with basic information about being a volunteer.

Caring for Volunteers: A Psychosocial Support Toolkit

This toolkit assists National Societies in preparing and supporting volunteers for their work during and after disasters, conflicts and other crisis events. It contains practical tools and information on preparing for crises, communication and PFA, peer support and monitoring and evaluation.

Caring for Volunteers: Training Manual

The training manual was developed with the goal of better training and preparing volunteers in helping beneficiaries, and to help volunteers learn to recognize signs of stress and take better care of themselves and each other. It includes key concepts and definitions needed by trainers in the field. It articulates possible risks to volunteers’ well-being, and presents strategies for reducing those risks. It includes sessions on self-care, peer support and psychological first aid and has guidance on how to set up a support system for volunteers and on monitoring and evalua­tion. The training also includes a valuable session on making an action plan to follow up the work done in the training.

Caring for Volunteers: Basic Training – PowerPoint Presentation

This is the first of two PowerPoint presentation (Basic Training) to accompany the Caring for Volunteers training sessions.

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Caring for Volunteers: Training of Trainers – PowerPoint Presentation

The Training of Trainers PowerPoint presentation is the second PowerPoint presentation to accompany the Caring for Volunteers training manual and PowerPoint presentation. You will need this presentation to conduct a Training of Trainers for the Caring for Volunteers training.

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