Promoting Social Resilience to Disasters: the Principles of Delivery of Psychological First Aid

Vilma Miglinė

Abstract


Concern is increasing all over the world not only about the consequences of climate change, namely increasingly frequent and heavier natural disasters. Changing geopolitical situation with armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, increaded influx of refugees to European countries causes a great concern as well. In this context, it will be important to be able to effectively adopt to a rapidly changing world over the coming years and decades and properly prepare to potential threats to countries and inhabitants.
Research shows that potentially traumatic events, such as wars, natural and technological disasters and economic crises have negative psychological consequences.
The impact of traumatic events has the ability to accumulate. Persistent traumatic events lead to significant negative consequences on the physical and mental health. Therefore, a desirable objective would be to create a resilient social systems which are able to neutralize any disaster impact and time to recover from it. In this way, social systems will be more
secure.
The purpose of this article is to analyse current scientific literature and case studies to justify the importance of principles of psychological first aid aiming to increase the resistance of social systems in the context of extreme events by providing appropriate recommendations.
Performed analysis supports the efficiency of various psychological interventions in prevention of mental health disorders and the treatment of early traumatic stress reactions. Psychological first aid is recommended as the most efficient method of intervention. Psychological first aid is constructed around five core principles: safety, comfort, stabilization, connection with social supports and information gathering. Qualified
psychological first aid organization and timely delivery with modern, science-based approach significantly contributes to the psychosocial resilience of social systems.

Keywords


psychological first aid, mental health, extreme events, disasters, social resilience.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SPV-16-1-9-07

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"Health Policy and Management" ISSN online 2029-9001 / ISSN print 2029-3569