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Introduction to Psychological First Aid: Supporting Individuals in Distress


This training was originally presented on

October 12, 2022


Stress, grief, loss, and past traumas have a powerful impact on a person’s ability to cope in the wake of a traumatic event. As service providers, we need to be prepared to support the individuals that we serve – and one another – through challenging times.

Over the past two decades, a comprehensive analysis of the traditional Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD-CISM) model commonly used by First Responders has highlighted some potentially harmful consequences of the post-event debriefing components of the protocol. Best practice recommendations now suggest that this element be replaced Psychological First Aid (PFA). This introductory webinar will teach participants the basics of PFA and provide strategies for supporting ourselves and others through difficult times.


Learners will:

  • Learn the Eight Key Steps of Psychological First Aid
  • Discuss pros & cons regarding CISD-CISM and the case for why PFA should be used instead
  • Obtain strategies to manage their own reactions, acknowledge their need to debrief, and offer support


Who should attend: All staff of family resource center (FRCs), child abuse prevention councils (CAPCs), and other child- and family-serving organizations.





Sarah Stewart is a Registered Social Worker, holding a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Victoria. She is a Certified Trainer of Transforming Compassion Fatigue and Mental Health First Aid Basic and Youth courses.

Sarah has developed trainings on trauma-informed practice, workplace mental health, team debriefing, and work-life balance for corporations, non-profit agencies, and small businesses. She is passionate about promoting a social justice-based approach to wellness and sustainability in helping professionals, de-stigmatizing mental health problems, and improving mental health-related accessibility.




Associate, TEND Academy