Disasters: Psychological first aid

Psychological First Aid is an evidence-informed approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults and families in the aftermath of disasters and other mass adversities. It involves brief supportive interventions for children and families in the early weeks including emotional support, social support, practical assistance, information gathering and provision, and linking with collaborative services.

The resources on this page further demonstrate and explain the core principles of Psychological First Aid and information on its implementation across a range of settings.

Other resources

Guidelines for provision of psychological support

Australian Psychological Society
This resource outline three levels of psychological support for people affected by bushfires (as well as other disasters): Level 1 Psychological first aid in the aftermath; Level 2 Skills for psychological recovery in the following weeks and months (Skills for Psychological Recovery); Level 3 Mental health interventions when more intensive treatment is required.

Listen, Protect, and Connect

 1.98 MB pdf

UCLA School of Public Health
A  practical resource on Psychological First Aid that may be useful for those working with children, parents and other carers after natural disasters.

Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S)

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), US
The NCTSN has adapted made freely available a manual outlining the delivery of Psychological First Aid in Schools following a disaster. This manual features information for teachers, adults and students and is an important resource that can be readily utilised. There is also a PFA-S app that is available for free and can be linked to from this site.

Psychological first aid: An Australian guide

 553.72 KB pdf

Australian Red Cross & Australian Psychological Society
This detailed guide provides a comprehensive overview of the principles of Psychological First Aid and how it is applied. 

Psychological first aid: Field operations guide (2nd edition)

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) & The National Center for PTSD
The PDF version of the Psychological First Aid: Field Operations Guide and related handouts can be accessed free of charge by registering with The National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

Trauma and psychological first aid

Colleen Jackson, Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ASTSS)
Link to a brief video clip of Colleen Jackson talking about basic psychological first aid responses in a school impacted by trauma.

Trauma: First response and recovery

Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
Gives a link to a PDF "Trauma: First response and recovery" at the bottom of the page. The 3-page document describes psychological first aid and provides a list of self-help tips for adults who have gone through traumatic experiences.


Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)

This website provides links to MHFA training and also provides free resources to download.

Updated:  15 July 2024/Responsible Officer:  Science web team/Page Contact:  Science web team