Save the Children trains NEMA staff to carry out Psychological First Aid

Save the Children trains NEMA staff to carry out Psychological First Aid

This week Save the Children trained staff of the National (and Municipal) Emergency Management Agency to carry out Psychological First Aid as part of the cooperative agreement between the two organisations.

Children who have experienced disasters can be seriously affected by the trauma of the event. Their own fear, the fear of losing close relatives and other negative emotions have the potential to result in short and long term behavior change.

Children can feel unable to express their feelings and fear that they won’t be understood. Most children’s distress fades in time and they do not suffer long-term mental effects. However, children recover more easily and the risk of ongoing trauma is diminished if they receive early support.

Save the Children’s training is based on international mental health guidelines that recommend offering children Psychological First Aid (PFA) during or immediately after a disaster. PFA is therefore an essential element of preparedness in all disaster prone areas. Relevant personnel need to build their capacity to work with the most vulnerable children in particular who could be affected by accident, negligence, physical violence or sexual abuse.

NEMA requested Save the Children to conduct PFA training for 24 staff, including doctors, psychologists, rescuers and trainers. Participants evaluated the training very highly, saying they had gained both practical skills and insights into the importance of PFA in preventing long-term mental trauma for children who experience disasters.