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Psychological First Aid

Published by Safety Net Team

November 21, 2022

Psychological first aid can significantly reduce long-term emotional damage if employees are exposed to a traumatic event, such as a distressing workplace accident or a terrorist attack. There are six essential steps to providing support after a traumatic incident.

1. Become knowledgeable about normal reactions to abnormal events
Faced with shock and distress, many people panic. Because they feel frightened and threatened, their instinct is to want to escape quickly or fight their way through it. Others can become almost paralysed with fear and unable to think or do anything.
It is important for those of us supporting employees in this state to understand that all these reactions are natural responses to unexpected, sudden and powerful experiences. By being aware of these different reactions, managers and colleagues are much more likely to stay calm and be in a position to help others without becoming overwhelmed by the intensity of their distress.
2. Empower, educate and encourage
Often when helping distressed people, we think we know what they need. However, one of the most important things managers can do is to empower employees to think about what they need for themselves.
In practice this requires empowering them to take a proactive approach to their own recovery. You can help by asking them what they most need to feel safe and secure again, and supporting them to meet this need for themselves. If they want someone they trust to collect them, encourage them to make the call themselves instead of doing this for them. It’s important to be compassionate, but in a way that gets them to start functioning again.
3. Remember the ABC of psychological first aid
Just as there’s an ABC for physical first aid:
• Airway
• Breathing
• Circulation
there’s also an ABC for providing psychological first aid:
• Attend to
• Basic needs with
• Compassion.

For more information go to get free advice and request a call back.

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