Module 1: Impact awareness of natural disasters and emergency response
In this module, you will visit the following topics: pre-crisis preparation, stress management education, stress resistance, crisis mitigation training; disaster or large-scale incident, as well as, school and community support programs; one-on-one crisis intervention/counselling or psychological support; etc.
Module 2: Crisis Interventions in Depression and PTSD
Crisis is defined as a sudden event in one’s life that disturbs homeostasis, during which usual coping mechanisms cannot resolve the problem.
Module 3: Blue Light Mental Health and Trauma Awareness
how people can learn to self regulate so that they can function more effectively mentally, emotionally and physically (regulation of the brain: neuroscience; physical - self regulation thermometer; mindfulness) (Kate King)
- Wellbeing and mental health support in the emergency services
- Blue Light Research
- Blue Light Research (2)
- Blue Light Research (3)
- Types of trauma
- How trauma changes our physiology – flight, fight or freeze response
- What happens after trauma
- Advice to traumatised individuals
- Advice to friends and family
- Signs of burnout
- Check your knowledge!
Module 4: Disaster management
- Why is this important?
- Who are first responders?
- How First Responders Develop Mental Health Complications?
- What are the most frequent mental health complications which first responders develop?
- What barriers do first responders face to looking for mental health treatment?
- How can we help?
- EMDR Therapy
- Check your knowledge!
Module 5: Communication and Stress
The aim of this module will be to learn about communication problems and stress that people with PTSD are struggling with. It will lead to greater understanding how to effectively work with such people and how to recognize the symptoms. It will help to implement this topic in teaching practice to ultimately widen participation and increase trauma awareness, emotional self regulation and preparedness for response to any traumatic event. The topics covered: PTSD, Communication and PTSD, How to communicate in a PTSD relationship?, How Is PTSD Unlike a Normal Stress Response?, Stress – Physical symptoms, Stress – Psychological symptoms, Stress – Behaviours.
Module 6: Psychological First Aid; CPR and emergency first aid
- Training Objectives
- Learning Outcomes
- What is Psychological First Aid?
- Key Stages in PFA Training
- How Do People Respond in Emergencies ?
- How Does Trauma Impact Mental Health?
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Components of PFA
- Steps in PFA
- PFA is NOT
- Be Prepared
- Signs of Distress
- Social & Physical Reactions
- People with Additional Needs and Trauma
- Secondary Stressors
- Long Term Effects
- Distress & Mental Health
- Mental Health Problems
- Resilience & Coping
- Psychosocial Resilience
- Social Support & Coping
- Dos & Don’ts’s
- Action Principles
- Communication Skills
- People Who Need More Than PFA Alone
- How to Link People for Support & Guidance
- Self Care & Ending Assistance
- Check your knowledge!
What are the most frequent mental health complications which first responders develop?
There are many mental health complications which first responders can develop as a result of exposure to trauma. The data quoted in the beginning of this lesson indicates that such those may include substance abuse, depression, suicidal ideation. Other sources suggest sleep deprivation, anxiety, hazardous stress and secondary trauma. All these mental health complications can be regarded also as a sign to motivate a first responder to seek mental health treatment.
One of the frequently encountered mental health complications is diagnosed as Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD and is often accompanied by other symptoms listed in the previous paragraph.
PTSD as a mental health disorder is addressed in terms of its symptoms more extensively in Module 6 of this training. Nevertheless, for the purposes of context brief information is provided at this stage as well.
The American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD as “a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury”. As a condition it is associated with intense or disturbing thoughts and feelings about the traumatic event. It often involves reliving the experience at random points throughout the day or through nightmares. Sometimes people with PTSD may feel estranged from other people and avoid certain situations – especially people or situations which remind them of the trauma. Symptoms include also disproportional reactions to accidental touch or loud noises.
As it was said in the beginning of this training, PTSD does not need to be the result of exposure to a single traumatic event of exceptional gravity. It might be the result of accumulated exposure coupled with aggravating factors. Similarly, the PTSD condition might be developed long after the traumatic event and it is even possible that the diagnosed person does not experience the event personally but learns about it. Such are the cases, for instance, when someone develops PTSD after learning about the violent death of a close one.
PTSD should be recognised for what it is – a mental health complication. It should not be belittled as a character change or confused with a principle character trait – it is the past haunting a person.
Non-experts in psychiatry or psychology are not expected to diagnose and treat PTSD in first responders who show symptoms. However, it is important to be able to recognise the symptoms so that one can motivate the sick person to seek mental health treatment. For this reason, this training suggests a set of questions for a brief screen:
All the questions can be answered with YES or NO.
If your conclusion is that the person might have a PTSD condition (having answered mostly with YES), it might be good to motivate them to seek mental health treatment.
Consider the next section to see what challenges and barriers first responders often experience to seeking treatment.