A Guide to Psychological First Aid

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Psychological first aid is a simple, yet powerful way of helping someone in distress. It is a form of helping that involves paying attention to the person’s reactions, active listening and if relevant, practical assistance to help address immediate problems and basic needs. Learning PFA skills and understanding reactions to crises empowers the helper not only to help others, but also to apply the same skills to their own crises.

Although a vast amount of training and reference material on PFA already exists, there was a specific need to develop materials adapted to the requirements and specific contexts of Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers, who work in their own communities in both emergency and non-emergency, or long-term settings.

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