Psychological First Aid Training

Government Announce Access to Free Training

The Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries announced last week there would be free access to a new Psychological First Aid (PFA) Training course for all front line staff and volunteers who have been dealing with the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

The course is online and free online so can be accessed from the comfort of your armchair.

It takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and can be completed in one go or at intervals.

The course enables responders to develop their skills and confidence in providing key psychological support to people affected by coronavirus, including on issues such as job worries, bereavement or isolation as they carry out their vital work as part of the ongoing coronavirus response.

It will also help you identify how to recognise people who may be at increased risk of distress, and how to offer practical and emotional support.

What the Training Covers

The course is new and has been developed by PHE with support from NHS England and Health Education England and is being made available to front line workers across England by the social learning platform, Future Learn.

Front line responders can access the training and materials for free through the Future Learn website.

Individuals who join the course will also receive a free digital upgrade so that they can gain unlimited access to the course and any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes, as well as a PDF Certificate of Achievement.

Training should be considered as part of wider workplace learning.

It is said the course will equip staff to provide support and recognise people at risk of distress and it follows a globally recommended model for supporting people during emergencies and tailored to the specific challenges of COVID 19.

The course covers increasing learning about the psychological impact of emergencies and this includes the practice of PFA. There are 4 stages to PFA:

  • Prepare to deliver PFA
  • Look to assess the situation and identify those in need
  • Listen to understand their specific needs
  • Link to provide further support

The Difference Between MHFA and PFA

Psychological First Aid is different from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) because it has been developed specifically for use in disasters and emergencies.

Having completed MHFA myself  2 years ago, I was interested in finding out how different this course really is. There is some cross over as you would expect but on the whole, I found the course gave lots of great information on how to provide psychosocial care in the immediate aftermath of an emergency, including infectious disease outbreaks of which is not covered in MHFA.

It took 30 seconds to log into the site and immediately received a welcome email and link to resources.

There was a scenario at the end to test knowledge and links to further reading and resources.

The outcome of the course is to have an understanding of what psychological first aid is, know how to help and support yourself and others

I would recommend taking out the time to complete the course to support Mental Health and wellbeing in your school.