Valued and beneficial components of peer delivered Psychological First Aid for EMS
Marine Tessier1,2, Josianne Lamothe2,3, and Steve Geoffrion2,4
Introduction: Psychological First Aid (PFA) is a promising early intervention for providing psychosocial support after exposure to a traumatic event (TE) among public safety personnel such as Emergency Medical Service (EMS). The goal of PFA is to reduce initial distress and facilitate adaptation over time. It can be provided by people trained in the PFA intervention even if they are not mental health professionals. Therefore, it may be relevant to use colleagues as providers, using the peer support model.
Objective and methods: This study aimed to explore the perception of EMS workers (n = 13) who received peer delivered PFA, using thematic analysis from a qualitative inductive approach.
Results: Findings identified 10 components of the intervention, related to characteristics of the provider and characteristics of the intervention, such as its time-sensitive nature and the closeness with peers, that were especially appreciated by EMS workers.
Conclusions: The PFA intervention offered by peer helpers is appreciated by recipients and appeared to be a beneficial first step toward supporting EMS workers in the aftermath of workplace trauma. Collecting EMS workers’s perceptions regarding PFA is a good way to unravel specific elements of the intervention that are particularly appreciated, fostering acceptability, and participation. Moreover, it allows us to offer recommendations for future implementation and adaptation of PFA in organizational contexts.
About the author:
Marine Tessier, M.Ps., is currently completing her doctoral thesis in clinical psychology at the Université de Montréal. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from France and has significant clinical experience with various populations including victims of crime and detainees. Her doctoral research project focuses on early intervention of posttraumatic stress injuries among paramedics and emergency dispatchers.