Psychological First Aid (PFA) is a set of crisis intervention techniques that are primarily intended for the public, including skills for children and families. This training, and quite a bit more, is available on-line from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
Although PFA descriptions seem to always mention that it can be used with responders, that’s certainly not the community it was developed for. The principles apply, but the methods would have to be adapted quite a bit. It does not include any kind of group process, which can be one of the most powerful aspects of Critical Incident Stress Management, which was developed for public safety and other responders.
I’ve had some discussions lately about figuring out a combination of these approaches for CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members – CISM for their self-care and PFA for offering support to their communities.
CNN reports a new study that suggests that regular church attendance may also help increase lifespan. Assuming that church attendees tend to have stronger social support networks, which is generally recognized, this study is consistent with others that show a correlation between health (emotional and physical) and our “connectedness” with other people, as well as spiritual practices that connect us to creation and the divine.
I’ve been digging into similarities between the stresses of Silicon Valley startups and public safety. They are definitely different, but more alike than you might suspect. Here’s an article that describes what it can be like for an entrepreneur: The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship.
I’m writing a review of a new Department of Justice report on mass casualty incidents, “Preparing for the Unimaginable,” based on lessons learned from Sandy Hook. It is all too timely, given the Orlando shootings. It is available on the NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) web site – http://www.nami.org/cops. Unfortunately, probably because of NAMI’s focus on families and individuals (none of NAMI’s executives or directors comes from public safety), the report recommendations related to crisis intervention are poor. They repeat CISM myths and recommend Psychological First Aid for law enforcement even though it was not designed for responders or groups.
It was helpful to be taking Jeff Mitchell’s CISM instructor class in the midst of writing the review. He guides instructors to understand how to answer critics with solid information. More to come.