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University of Nebraska Public Policy Center

Medical Reserve Corps Challenge

Psychological First Aid is an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families following a disaster incident1. PFA training provides essential skills for disaster responders so that they are able to educate individuals about the normal physical, emotional, and behavioral responses to disasters. It also teaches responders how to recognize when and how to refer survivors who may need additional mental health assistance.

Following a series of disasters in the state, the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, along with the Eastern Nebraska/Western Iowa Medical Reserve Corps recognized a need to provide this training in a just-in-time setting. That is, training that is available on-demand and can be accessed when the volunteer needs it – just prior to being deployed, for example. Volunteer responders who hadn’t taken the full PFA course would benefit from a just-in-time training, and experienced responders may need to refresh their familiarity with PFA skills.

University of Nebraska Public Policy Center researchers developed the Nebraska Disaster Psychological First Aid Online curriculum to complement the existing classroom-based Nebraska Disaster Psychological First Aid course. The online curriculum highlights important skills that disaster responders can use as they work with survivors. The course can be found at https://go.unl.edu/ne-pfa-refresher. Read more about the Medical Reserve Corps Challenge.

1 The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Psychological First Aid. Retrieved from http://www.nctsn.org/content/psychological-first-aid.

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