Stress First Aid: Self-Care and Peer Support Model - PTSD: National Center for PTSD
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PTSD: National Center for PTSD

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Stress First Aid: Self-Care and Peer Support Model

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Stress First Aid: Self-Care and Peer Support Model

Stress First Aid (SFA) is a framework to improve recovery from stress reactions, both in oneself and in coworkers. It was based on research supporting the value of key elements that are related to recovery from different types of ongoing adversity. The framework aims to support and validate good friendship, mentorship, and leadership actions.

SFA was originally developed for those in high-risk occupations like military, fire and rescue, health care, pretrial and probation settings, and law enforcement; it can be applied in many occupational settings during disasters, mass violence events and pandemic response.

SFA includes core actions that help to identify and address early signs of stress reactions in an ongoing way (not just after "critical incidents"). This model begins with a stress reaction continuum model. The goal of SFA is to identify stress reactions along that continuum and to help reduce the likelihood that stress outcomes develop into more severe or long-term problems.

The core actions of SFA are appropriate for both self-care and coworker support and have also been applied to the public in fire, EMS, post-disaster, pretrial and probation settings, and health care.

Training and Implementation

Download the Training Slide Deck and Instructor Manual:

Additional Resouces

Download a handout for family and friends:

  • Supporting Essential Workers in Extended Disasters or Public Health Crises (PDF). Close family members and friends can be crucial for essential workers during long-lasting disasters or public health crises. Essential workers continue to do their jobs during critical times and may face long hours, difficult decisions, fatigue and strong emotions while trying to adapt. Stress First Aid may provide some ways that your family and friends can help.

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