Psychological First Aid
After a traumatic experience like accidents, natural disasters or personal attacks, people are often shaken up and distressed. As an educated person, you should be aware of ASSIST – Emergency psychological support.
A- Approach the individual
- Introduce yourself and state any organization you might be affiliated with
- Be polite and professional-remember to say please and thank you
- Find a safe, private place to talk if possible
S- Stabilize their emotions
- Communicate in a calm, warm tone. The person might be in shock, so you may need to repeat yourself at times.
- Offer to guide them through some grounding exercises such as taking slow, deep breaths
- Ask for permission before you hug or touch them
S- Serve their needs
- Ask the person what they need. Don’t assume what their priorities are
- If they don’t know what they need, offer practical support, such as water or a blanket.
- Help them find any missing family members or friends.
I – Inform them of the facts
- Give them concrete information about the incident and any relief efforts.
- Don’t make false promises. Avoid generalizations such as “everything will be okay”
- Be honest if you don’t know the answer to a question
S- Support their story
- Respect the person’s privacy. Don’t pressure them into recounting their trauma or sharing personal details
- Allow the person to assign whatever spiritual or religious meaning they wish toward the crisis
- Let them cry or go silent if they need to
T- Turn them toward further services
- Direct them to the nearest relief station. Do not force if they are not ready to move yet.
- Give them written contact information for long-term services such as counselling.