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Territorial Rollout of Psychological First Aid Course Begins

Territorial Rollout of Psychological First Aid Course Begins

The first official Salvation Army Psychological First Aid course for the territory, as part of a wider rollout, was delivered in Wellington recently.

The one-day course equips Salvation Army emergency workers with the practical framework needed to support distressed people who have been recently exposed to a crisis event.

Recent crises that have involved Salvation Army workers in providing psycho-social support include the Loafers Lodge fire in Wellington and Cyclone Gabrielle. 

Thirteen participants from around New Zealand, including Auckland, Feilding, Wellington and Christchurch took part in the course, led by facilitators Captain Shaun Baker, Central Division Emergency Services coordinator, and Cairine Barton from Territorial Community Ministries.

The day involved a range of workshops, exercises and a crisis simulation set in an emergency shelter, where participants took turns role-playing being disaster survivors and Salvation Army workers providing psycho-social support.

Participants learned not only how to support people in distress, but the importance of caring for themselves and colleagues in crisis environments.

The course uses a participant booklet adapted by The Salvation Army from the World Health Organisation’s ‘Guide for Field Workers’ booklet, which is used in countries around the world.

Shaun says the training—the first to be offered in the territory—went well, with a varied group of enthusiastic participants.

‘People reported that the time allowed was sufficient, the training materials were easy to understand and that they felt more confident to respond in an incident if required,’ says Shaun.  

‘We will do more of these courses in the Central Division if and when required, with at least one each year.’

The course follows psychological first aid facilitator training at Booth College of Mission last year that trained 12 Salvation Army staff to be trainers for the rollout across the territory.

Salvation Army staff interested in taking part in the training should contact their divisional Emergency Services coordinator.

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