PHE launches new Psychological First Aid training

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a new online training resource aimed to support children and young people affected by the challenges of the pandemic.

Available for people who care for or work with children and young people aged up to 25, the Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course, provides support for anyone who has felt more stressed, lonely and worried.

The three-week course explores the techniques of psychological first aid (PFA), the globally recommended training for supporting people during emergencies. It focuses on children and young people’s mental health, and how to help them cope and access the support they need. It also offers training on how to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people.

Clare Perkins, Director of the Mental Health Programme at PHE, said: “The pandemic has caused significant disruption to all of our daily lives. Children are among the worse impacted, being stuck at home and not able to have the essential social interactions with their friends. Many young people are anxious and worried about their future in these uncertain times.

“Children and young people will react to the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways. The PFA training course will help professionals, volunteers, parents and carers better identify the signs of those who are struggling and give them timely effective support that is right for them – helping them feel safe and able to help themselves.”

PHE has developed the tool with a range of experts, including NHS England, the Department for Education and the British Red Cross and is being made available online by social learning platform, Future Learn.

Vicky Ford, Children and Families Minister, added: “This new training module is being introduced at an important time. I know how difficult the pandemic has been for children and young people across the country, and this additional support for those working with them every day – whether they are parents and carers, teachers, health and social care workers, or volunteers – is timely and necessary.

“It builds on our commitment to supporting children and young people’s mental health now and over the long-term, and the expertise already available like our £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme. This includes a webinar for education staff that draws on and complements this Psychological First Aid e-learning. They will both be of enormous value to those who want to help and improve children and young people’s mental wellbeing, including teachers.”