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First responders and psychological first aid

Jordan Pekevski, PhD

Abstract


Emergencies and disasters are common and occur on a daily basis. Although most survivors will not experience any long-term negative mental health effects, some will. First responders tend to have first contact with the survivors and, therefore, are in a position to provide needed mental health assistance to survivors. Psychological first aid (PFA) is an evidence-informed approach to providing support to survivors following a serious crisis event, and it aims to reduce the initial distress of the traumatic event and to promote adaptive functioning and coping. PFA has gained a great deal of attention lately, likely due to the fact that it is easy to provide. This article discusses the potential negative effects of emergencies and disasters on mental health, provides a description of PFA and discusses its application, and provides an overview of the research base of PFA and a discussion on the need for future research.


Keywords


first responders, psychological first aid, mental health

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5055/jem.2013.0126

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