Psychological First Aid (PFA) is an evidence-informed modular approach for assisting children, adolescents, adults, and families in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism.  PFA is designed to reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events, exposure to adversity and violence and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning.  Principles and techniques of PFA meet four basic standards: (1) consistent with research evidence on risk and resilience following trauma; (2) applicable and practical in field settings; (3) appropriate to developmental level across the lifespan; and (4) culturally informed.

PFA is designed for delivery by mental health specialists who provide acute assistance to affected children and families as part of an organized disaster response effort.  These specialists may be imbedded in a variety of response units, including first responder teams, incident command systems, primary and emergency health care providers, school crisis response teams, faith-based organizations, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps, the Citizens Corps, and disaster relief organizations.

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