Philippines: Health professionals learn psychological first aid to support survivors

Posted on December 12, 2013

The typhoon will have long-lasting effects. We must be prepared to give support to families and communities for the long-term, and we need more trained field workers to do it. (flickr)

Using a train-the-trainer approach, Filipino health professionals took part in a one-day workshop to learn how teach others in their communities to provide psychological first aid to support typhoon survivors.

People are more likely to suffer from a range of mental health problems during and after emergencies. One month after the devastating Typhoon Haiyan, one of WHO’s top health priorities is scaling up mental health and psychosocial support as the country recovers.

"The typhoon will have long-lasting effects," says Dr Julie Hall, the WHO Representative in the country. "We must be prepared to give support to families and communities for the long-term, and we need more trained field workers to do it."

Using a train-the-trainer approach, Filipino psychologists, physicians and psychiatrists who took part in the one-day workshop will teach others in their communities to perform the first aid so more survivors have access to basic support.

According to training facilitator Mark van Ommeren, a WHO mental health expert, disseminating this approach widely is a way of ensuring that anyone – teachers, aid workers, police officers and health workers – can be a helper in crisis situations like the typhoon aftermath.

“When they interact with people who are very upset, they will have the skills and confidence to be supportive,” says van Ommeren.


Category(s):Mental Health in Asia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Source material from WHO


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