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Psychological First Aid

Andrew’s Note:  I had an old First Sergeant who came up as a Psychological Warfare specialist…he was fond of saying “psychological warfare…because physical wounds heal!”  All messing with people’s head aside… there is such a thing as a psychological wound and I’ve seen some of the toughest people I’ve met affected by traumatic experiences.  If you or a loved one are subjected to a traumatic experience, paralized by fear, depressed or temporarily shut down by excessive stress… you should know how to provide psychological first aid.  Today’s lesson is from Army Field Manual FM-4.25.11 (Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited) First Aid and deals with psychological first aid: FIRST AID FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL REACTIONS [Psychological First Aid] 8-1.  General Psychological first aid is as natural and reasonable as physical first aid and is just as familiar. When you were hurt as a child, the understanding attitude of your parents did as much as the psychological effect of a bandage. Later, your disappointment or grief was eased by supportive words from a friend. Certainly, taking a walk and talking things out with a friend are familiar ways of dealing with an emotional crisis. The same natural feelings that make us want to help a person who is injured make us want to give a helping hand to a buddy who is upset. Psychological first aid really means nothing more complicated than assisting people with emotional distress whether it results from physical injury, disease, or excessive stress. Emotional distress is not always as visible as a wound or a broken bone. However, overexcitement, severe fear, excessive worry, deep depression, misdirected irritability, and anger are signs that stress has reached the point of interfering with effective coping. The more noticeable the symptoms become, the more urgent the need for you to be of help and the more important it is for you...

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