Psychological First Aid

Psychological first aid (PFA) provides initial emotional and practical support to someone who has experienced a traumatic event – either a large-scale disaster or a personal traumatic incident. 


Why do Psychological first aid?

Psychological first aid (PFA) is the mental and emotional equivalent of medical first aid. It can be provided by both members of the public and professional helpers. PFA builds organisational and community resilience, and people's capacity to respond well to traumatic events.

Recommended for

Anyone who may have a role in supporting staff, colleagues, community members or whanau, in particular:

  • Workplace managers and supervisors
  • Health, safety and well-being teams
  • Peer supporters
  • Emergency management first responders
  • Organisations and groups with psychosocial support responsibilities under NZ Civil Defence legislation.

What this 7 hour course covers

  • The scope of PFA – what it is, and what it isn’t
  • The 5 elements of PFA
  • WHO Action Framework for PFA – Look, Listen and Link
  • Understanding and recognising distress
  • Active listening and calming techniques
  • Referral to more specialised support
  • Adapting PFA to social and cultural context
  • Wellbeing – looking after yourself

The New Zealand Red Cross Psychological First Aid Training Guide is provided free as a participant manual along with additional tools and handouts. Participants receive a New Zealand Red Cross PFA certificate on course completion.