Psychological First Aid? There’s An App For That

Written by Dr. Julie Kinn 

I’m not alone in saying my heart goes out to those impacted by Hurricane Isaac. As a clinical psychologist, I have treated many children and adults who carry trauma symptoms long after danger has passed from natural or man-made disasters. We health care providers are keenly aware that disasters happen many times a year, and that those treating the survivors rarely have a surplus of resources.

To help support providers on the frontlines of care in emergencies, the VA’s National Center for PTSD and the DoD’s National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) have released PFA Mobile . This free mobile application assists providers in putting Psychological First Aid (PFA) into practice in the field. The app includes a brief refresher on the main components of PFA, assists with mentorship of other providers, and allows providers to self-assess and develop insight into readiness to provide PFA.

Some primary features that make the app so appropriate for disaster situations include:

  • Easy forms for collecting data in difficult circumstances
  • Intervention strategies tailored to unique conditions
  • No requirement for internet or phone connectivity to run

PFA Mobile is currently available for iOS (Apple) devices and will deploy for Android devices in 2013. If you are a first responder or frontline care provider, I suggest you take it for a test drive and become familiar with this excellent resource.

Dr. Julie Kinn is a clinical and research psychologist. She leads mobile health application development for the DoD’s National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2).

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