Psychological First Aid Training is Integral to Public Safety

psychological first aid training

You may think that you know what “psychological first aid” is, but you could be wrong. It’s an acronym that many people don’t know, and even those who do may not fully understand its meaning. A disaster response plan should have one element: emergency preparedness. In other words, if you want the public health preparedness to deal with a biological or viral emergency in the event of a disaster, you need to have the proper psychological first aid training in place. Some basic steps can help get you that psychological preparedness, which can be extremely valuable.

Learning About Public Health And Safety

A close up of a person

The first step in psychological first aid training is learning about public health and safety. Public health and safety consist of preventing emergencies before they happen and learn how to deal with emergencies that do occur. This includes knowing what to do when there is smoke or fire or when flooding or earthquake damage occurs. These skills are not hard to learn, and the better courses will teach them to the best of their abilities. However, without proper guidance, people may be at a disadvantage when faced with real-life emergencies.

Basic Aspects Of Human Psychology

A train traveling down train tracks near a forest

Once you know what is going on in the public health sector, your coursework will understand psychological issues that can affect those in crisis. Your coursework will focus on the four basic aspects of human psychology: self-efficacy, competence, distress, and motivation. All these factors affect the way that you act, think, and feel. Knowing these four things can put you at a distinct advantage when facing life’s emergencies. Self-efficacy is related to confidence and assertiveness and can be affected by emotional trauma. Simultaneously, competence and distress are related to having a sense of control and knowing what to do when things go wrong.

Some courses will focus on public health emergency preparedness, while others will have more to do with psychology and mental health issues. With this in mind, you should be prepared for several career choices, including teachers, counselors, and psychologists. Many public health departments also have a division for psychologists and other health care professionals who work in their schools and communities. If your community has a good public health program in place, then you could consider working there as a volunteer or entry-level psychologist.

Receiving Training In The Field Of Psychology

Public health professionals may choose to go on to receive training in the field of psychology. There are several health department professional development programs and certificate programs available through local colleges and universities. Many states require that health department employees complete some training in public health or community safety. Most state education boards also require psychology and cPHP classes as part of nurses and other healthcare workers’ training requirements. Psychology and public health professionals can complete either a two-year degree in psychology or a four-year degree in psychology and public health. Depending on the state requirements, some health departments require additional training after completing a degree program.

Training Requirements

The training requirements for psychologists vary from state to state, as well as from county to county. Because community response agencies have different certification standards, it is important to check with your local health department to see what the recommended standards are for your area. Most county health departments also require psychological first aid training. In addition to learning how to provide psychological assistance in an emergency, these professionals are responsible for keeping track of the general health of those in their community, as well as ensuring proper health care is provided when people are in need.

The research regarding the effects of disaster preparedness practices on the level of psychological first aid has been promising. Studies have found that those who participated in disaster preparedness practices were less likely to experience stress-related problems such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. These same participants were also more likely to handle emergencies than participants who did not take the initiative to take action. Those practicing this type of psychosocial intervention were also more likely to anticipate future emergencies, and they showed an increased ability to control symptoms in patients suffering from trauma effectively. Interestingly, these same participants were more able to cope with the unexpected difficulties that ordinary citizens face in their everyday lives.

Final Words

All of these things make psychological first aid training a critical component of public safety. These courses are currently the only approved training programs accredited by the Commission on Professional Qualification for Counseling (CPC). CPC members must receive a minimum of 200 hours of training in interpersonal skills, psychology, and other areas related to counseling and other social services. They must pass a professional competency examination. If you would like to become a CPC member, you can register online at the Commission on Professional Qualification’s website. Once you’ve completed the application process, you will receive an official certificate that allows you to work as a professional counselor in any area related to mental health.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter