Introduction to Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) and Psychological First Aid (PFA) Course (10th – 11th June 2021)

On the 10th and 11th June 2021, three representatives of the Corrections, Affiliation and Maintenance (CAM) division attended an introductory training hosted by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD), in conjunction with the Samoa Disability Partnership Program (SDPP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), that addressed concepts associated with psychological first aid as well as psychosocial and mental health. Participants were invited from various government ministries, state entities and non-governmental organizations based on the nature of work they conduct on a daily basis and its relation to the main topics mentioned above.

The two-day training focused on psychological first aid wherein the principles of preparation, observation, communication and interaction were emphasized. Preparation comprised of learning details about the crisis event, reviewing available services and resources that could provide support and learning about any safety concerns around the issue. Observation included observing the victims for any signs of serious distress and identifying basic needs. Communication entailed asking questions about people’s concerns and listening to their responses with the intention of maintaining calmness and not causing further harm. Interaction involved promoting self-reliance by assisting victims to address their needs and cope with their problems as well as providing further information with the key of connecting people with their loved ones and social support. The training was conducted by UNICEF in-country specialist, Dr. Aladin Borja.