Last reviewed 22 June 2020

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a free online psychological first aid training course for all frontline staff and volunteers who have dealt with difficult situations during the coronavirus pandemic.

Produced by PHE and based on international guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations and partners, the Psychological First Aid (PFA) teaches the key principles of giving psychological first aid in emergencies. It hopes to give frontline staff and volunteers extra resources on how to take care of their own mental health and wellbeing, how to provide support to those who need it most and advice on how to cope with difficult situations.

Responders are supported to develop their skills and confidence in providing key psychological support to people affected by coronavirus, including on issues such as job worries, bereavement or isolation as they carry out their vital work as part of the ongoing coronavirus response.

The topics covered include defining psychological first aid; how emergencies impact mental health; the psychological first aid stages: Prepare, Look, Listen, Link; supporting oneself and colleagues; and example scenarios.

PHE Medical Director Yvonne Doyle said the pandemic has had a profound impact on all our daily lives and none more so than on frontline staff "who are seeing the effects of the outbreak first-hand".