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Psychological First Aid

Learn how to use Psychological First Aid (PFA) to help people cope with the emotional impact of a traumatic event.

2,131 enrolled on this course

A woman touching another person's hand through a window with a rainbow drawing and a slogan 'it will be ok!' on it.

Psychological First Aid

2,131 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 1 hour per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    1 hour
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $244.99 for one whole yearLearn more

Get Psychological First Aid (PFA) training

This Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course will help you to provide support to people who have experienced an emergency or stressful life event in ways that respect culture, religion, and dignity.

Over the course of three weeks, experts from the UK Health Security Agency will help you gain the practical skills to deliver Psychological First Aid.

You’ll learn the best practices for providing support to those that need it whilst also ensuring you maintain your own wellbeing.

Understand how traumatic events impact mental wellbeing

There are many responses to traumatic events and because of this, you may have to adapt to people’s different needs when delivering PFA.

This course will show you how traumatic events, such as emergencies or personal crises, impact mental health as you learn how to distinguish between signs of distress and signs of mental health conditions.

With this knowledge, you’ll better understand the type of care and support to give different people.

Learn to identify those most in need of Psychological First Aid

Next, you’ll focus on how you can best prepare for the services and support you can offer with PFA.

Within this, you’ll also learn how to identify high-risk groups and those most in need of PFA.

Discover emotional support and coping strategies

On the final week, you’ll learn how to identify whether someone needs mental or physical support. Once identified, you’ll discover how to implement techniques for effective listening, promoting well-being, and giving bereavement support.

Finally, you’ll discover how you need to maintain your personal well-being whilst delivering PFA. You’ll learn how to manage stress, where to get help, and how to support yourself and others.


  • Week 1


    • What is Psychological First Aid?

      In this first activity we introduce what Psychological First Aid is and who can provide it.

    • How do traumatic events impact mental health?

      Understanding the impact on mental health of a traumatic event, such as an emergency or stressful life event, is important in order to provide the right care and access to resources for those whom you support.

    • Responses to trauma

      Before, during and after experiencing a trauma people's responses will vary, in this activity we explore how to identify if someone is in distress or has a more serious disorder that may need further support.

    • Resilience and recovery

      In this activity we look at resilience in a traumatic event or crisis, in order for those you support to develop skills to cope with their own situations more effectively.

    • End of Week 1

      As we reach the end of this week, we reflect on what you have learned.

  • Week 2

    PFA in practice

    • PFA in practice

      We start this week with looking at who can benefit from PFA and who can provide it.

    • Stage 1: Prepare

      In this activity we discuss the importance of being prepared when you provide PFA support. This will help you to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

    • Stage 2: Look

      To identify the immediate and long terms needs of those you support, requires you 'looking' at the information available, in this activity we discuss the skills you require in order to assess a situation effectively.

    • End of week summary

      In this activity we take the time to reflect on the week.

  • Week 3

    PFA in practice and supporting yourself

    • Stage three: Listen

      In this activity we consider how to listen and communicate effectively to those you are supporting.

    • Stage four: Link

      Once you have established what support some one may require, ensuring they have links to the right services is essential.

    • Supporting yourself

      Looking after yourself while delivering PFA is essential, so you are better able to support another person. In this activity we provide guidance on different ways of supporting yourself you may wish to consider.

    • End of the course

      In the final activity of the course, we recap on what you have learned and ask you to reflect on how you might use it in your role to support yourself and others.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate an understanding of what Psychological First Aid is
  • Identify for whom it is suited and how to help them
  • Identify how to better support yourself and peers in such crises
  • Engage with further reading into psychosocial support in different contexts

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who would like to learn how to support people who have experienced a traumatic event. For example, in response to acute traumatic events and emergencies, or to support friends, family and colleagues who are experiencing acute and overwhelming stress during a personal crisis. You do not have to be a specialist to deliver PFA.

Professionals that may benefit from this training in the context of their work include health and social care staff, first responders, frontline public-sector staff, essential workers, volunteers, supervisors and managers supporting staff or volunteers.

Who will you learn with?

Head of Behavioural Science in the Emergency Response Department of Public Health England, and visiting Professor of Practice in the Psychology of Health Protection at King's College London.

Behavioural Scientist in the Behavioural Science and Insights Unit at UK Health Security Agency. Helena is a trained Health Psychologist.

Dr Dale Weston is a Principal Behavioural Scientist based in the Behavioural Science and Insights Unit at UKHSA

Who developed the course?

UK Health Security Agency

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is responsible for planning, preventing and responding to external health threats by providing intellectual, scientific and operational leadership at national and local level, as well as on the global stage. UKHSA is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 12 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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