Health

Psychological First Aid: What to do with childs?

Applying Psychological First Aid is a huge benefit for people or groups who have been exposed to a critical incident (accidents, attacks, natural disasters, family losses, etc.) in the first 72 hours after impact.

The techniques of psychological first aid strategies are based on scientific evidence and are designed to help both children, adolescents, adults and families affected by the same critical incident. Not only those directly affected but also the interveners themselves in the incident (fire, police, etc.) and other professionals working with people affected (doctors, volunteers, etc.).

The objective of this first intervention are reducing the initial level of stress caused by the traumatic event; encourage adaptation to short, medium and long term and promote coping strategies.

Psychological First Aid: ethical principles.

Modeling healthy responses: act calmly so friendly, organized and respectful.
Staying visible and near, but without invading privacy.
Confidentiality. Ensure that the person concerned will be in an atmosphere of confidentiality.
Do not overdo the powers of the PAP.
When the person is very upset and necessary, refer you to other centers or additional professionals.
If there is coordination in the implementation of the PAP or working with other professionals or volunteers follow the indications of this.
Do not forget the personal, physical and emotional self-care itself.
Application of Psychological First Aid (PAP).

Before starting the implementation of the PAP should some initial considerations:

Information: know the environment where it will work, the incident and proportional care who and where. We must bear in mind that whenever possible the PAP must be applied in a comfortable and out of the area of ​​impact of the incident place.
Coordination: contact authorized persons, emergency services and coordinate with them.
Detection: identify who needs assistance, pay attention to how people react and interact with the environment.
Group: whenever possible, work with families and attend spontaneous groups.
Concentration: your own behavior can influence others. Show calmness and clarity of thought.
Adaptation: there are different cultures, diversity and special needs, especially in populations at risk.
Stages of implementation of Psychological First Aid.

1. Establish contact and introduce themselves.

Presented unobtrusively.
Explain why we have come.
Set the setting (confidentiality, needs, how we work …
2. Relief and Protection.

Cover basic living needs.
Helping family reunification.
Special attention to people with deceased relatives.
3. Contain, if necessary.

emotional support.
temporal and spatial orientation.
4. Gather information (needs & worries).

Identify immediate needs and concerns of the affected person.
Gather additional information on the people affected, especially on previous stressful life events.
5. Practical assistance.

Explore and analyze immediate needs.
Explicit and reorder needs.
Planning needs and actions to carry out.
6. Connect with social support network.

Promote links with their social support network.
Help perform search actions necessary.

7. Indicate coping patterns.

Report basic expectable reactions stress (physical and psychological).
Communication guidelines give bad news to children.
Teach basic relaxation techniques.
Give sleep hygiene guidelines.
Normalize symptoms of acute stress.
8. Conecatar with external services.

Report approximate times for help to a specialist.
Leave the network connected to public health or similar services.
Strengthen the maintenance of an additional contact in case of crisis.

Psychological First Aid in children.

In the case of boys or girls, depending on their age will follow the following 5 steps: contain, soothe, inform, standardize and comfort.

Between 0 and 3 years

1. Contain

Try not to separate the child / a.
Take her hands.
Redirect behaviors exaggerated physical addiction.
Allow a space for crying or shouting in a controlled manner.
2. Calmar

Help you relax.
Make him feel understood, loved and supported.
Facilitate the release of nervous energy.
With children over two years to help put names to emotions.
3. Report

Trying to explain to the child in a language adapted to their age what the situation is.
Use short sentences and make him understand that he is not alone and what will happen next.
Not hide information and never lie.
often tell him that you understand and know it’s sad and afraid.
4. Normalize
Establish a routine for bedtime adapted to the situation.
Not forced to eat if not hungry.
Try make meals in a relaxed atmosphere as possible.
Set reasonable limits for tantrums.
5. Comforting

Try to do positive activities with the child / a.
Try to listen when the child / a is try to communicate with you.
Let him have control over small things.
Help them to express their feelings through play activities.
Between 3 and 6 years.

1. Contain

Ensuring comfort and relaxation.
Frequently honey samples.
2. Calmar

Speak in a low, soft voice.
Seek relaxing activities.
Ela try to distract the child with elements of his imaginary world.
3. Report

Use language appropriate to their age.
Explain what happened simply and honestly.
Try to answer all your questions.
Explain the difference between dreams and fears and real life.
Explain the permanent nature of death and sorrow it causes.
4. Normalize

Naming emotions.
Emergence of aggressive behavior.
Regressions.
5. Comforting

Help you understand what happened.
Maintain family routines.
Allow to perform productive tasks.
Do not force him to talk.
Allow you to participate in cultural and religious rituals of mourning.
6 to 9 years.

1. Contain

Try that emotions do not overflow.
Striking a balance between emotional and rational ventilation control.
Always pick up the fears and fantasies, but respond from the cognitive level.
2. Calmar

Speaking in a low, calm voice.
Offer motives and reasons to help you relax.
Recall any previous situation in which the child could control their fears.
Never say that if calm, everything will be better. Possibly this is not true.
3. Report

Use simple words and explanations.
Answer all your questions.
Do not give more information than the child asks us. If you want to know more, and we will ask.
Find out what the child knows: possibly have heard reports that half scared, because you do not understand.
If you do not want to know anything, you are avoiding pain. It is important to revisit the issue the next day.
If the incident has led to the death of someone, address the issue directly, bluntly.
4. Normalize

Help the child to express how you feel, giving name to their feelings.
Encourage him to express himself, but without forcing it.
Nor force him to talk.
If react with irritability, rather than ignore, gently tell we understand you are angry, but gradually have to try not to be.
5. Comforting.

Allow you to participate in the rituals of farewell.
Encourage the child to draw and / or play about what happened.
Allow him to return to school and normal activities.
Promote their social life.
Between 9 to 12 years.

1. Contain

Try that emotions do not overflow.
Striking a balance between emotional and rational ventilation control.
Leave some space so they can be alone (at this age often begin to be ashamed of emotions), but not excessive.
2. Calmar

Speaking slowly and calm.
Offer motives and reasons to help you relax.
Recall any previous situation in which he could control his fears.
Allow distracted watching TV, playing with friends, etc.
3. Report

Using a single adult language, but.
Respond clearly and without equivocation your questions.
Do not give more information than we are asked, but invite further questions.
If you do not want to know anything, you are avoiding pain. It is important to revisit the issue the next day.
If the incident has led to the death of someone, address the issue directly, bluntly.
4. Normalize

Encourage the young teenager to express themselves, but without forcing it.
Nor force him to talk: possibly prefer to be with friends.
Explain that there are many ways of being sad and “mourn without tears” and sometimes the bad mood is one of them.
Explain that there is no need to be sad all the time, if there has been a death in the family.
5. Comforting

Allow you to participate in the rituals of farewell.
Encourage you to explore what activities help them to be better and to perform them.
Allow him to return to school and normal activities.
Promote contact and time with their peer group.
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References:

National Child Traumatic Strees Network | Spanish guide the NCTSN

free course on PAP of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and Barcelona Crisis Center.

Sobre el autor

Iván Pico

Graduado en Psicología (UNED). Nº Colegiado G-5480. Diplomado en Ciencias Empresariales (USC). Máster en Psicología del Trabajo y las Organizaciones. (INESEM). Máster Universitario Oficial en Orientación Profesional (UNED). Posgrado en Neuromarketing (Universidad Camilo José Cela). Técnico Deportivo Nivel II, fútbol sala (RFEF). Especialista en Psicología Aplicada al Deporte. Etc, etc...
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