The Johns Hopkins Guide to Psychological First Aid by George S.Everly & Jeffrey M.Lating is a support, a guide, a book for all that people interested to learn how to bring first psychological help after a disaster with extreme efficiency.
We live in a society of big uncertainty where terrorist attacks, attacks of private crazy individuals in churches or other places, tragedies like quakes, tsunami, are frequent and questions of survivors many and complicated and help at people who maybe lost some relatives or entire families a priority.
For this reason the Johns Hopkins University studied time ago the RAPID PFA.
PFA means Phychological First Aid.
People involved in PFA must be specialized and in grade to help pretty quickly people in great psychological sufferance.
They must individuate the psychological problematic of people for giving them a quick answer and for re-balance their mind as soon as possible.
Sure they can't cure any previous psychological disturb but the one created by the stressful event they lived in the immediate.
At first the book describes various situations experienced in the world, from past episodes, like the big fire in a nightclub of Boston where perished more than 400 people, 9/11 and other many other recent disturbing facts and tragedies.
It's the same for a massive quake, for a flood. Survivors must find light and an immediate psychologic comfort first base for the reconstruction of their lives.
Then the book continues to define various kind of psychological illness people can suffers of in these moments.
Later, strategies for giving all the best, for giving back at the society a person surely with new, important wounds but in grade to continue to walk along this Life's Path.
I loved the psychologic dialogues in the book between Matt and Claire. Matt works in the RAPID PFA. Claire needs help.
The book doesn't avoid differences between various States. In the USA better to keep eye contact and a sufficient distance. If you go somewhere else in the world and you try eye contact it can be considered rude. You can hug an italian for giving comfort, you can't do the same with an American or a British.
A last chapter considers advice to the volunteer, psychologist, paramedic of the RAPID PFA: listening these stories, living these moments can be tiring also for a psychologist, paramedic specialized in this field, so it will be important to de-stress the mind, eating well, doing exercise, sleeping appropriately and saying no when necessary.
An advice, after all very good for everyone :-)
This manual is read and taken in great consideration by Medicine Sans Frontiers and the World Health Organization.
I thank Johns Hopkins University Press for the physical copy of this wonderful and informative book.
Anna Maria Polidori