Psychological First Aid, an essential part of humanitarian work.
In the country like the Philippines, psychological needs are often overlooked because we are focused on meeting our physiological needs. But when people go through stressful and traumatic situations like natural disasters and death of loved ones, the impact of disregarding their psychological needs often result in anxiety and depression for long periods of time.
When ADRA first began offering psychological first aid trainings during the Stronger Together Plus project to the local health staff and church volunteers, quite a few were skeptical about its role in helping people recover from the pandemic. But as each session was completed, many participants who were leaders in the church and academe began to realize just how vital Psychological First Aid was.
As a result, even if the Stronger Together Project has ended, the Psychological First Aid trainings are still continuing, being made available to at the request of organizations and groups that want to train their staff regarding PFA. ADRA is contextualizing each PFA workshop to make it tailor-fit for the requesting group, to make it more relevant for them.
An anonymous author once said “Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince”. This quote is often seen attached to a photo of an athlete, a soldier, or even a student to give motivation when facing an almost insurmountable goal. A mantra that is often chanted in at the back of their exhausted minds, willing their bodies to keep going.
It is ADRA’s hope that through these PFA trainings, these exhausted minds and burdened spirits have finally been given respite. May the medical frontliners realize that taking care of their personal mental health helps them take care of their patients better. May the teachers learn to see their students with new eyes, catching signs of abuse and neglect early enough to prevent it from happening again. And may each young person discover that, it’s ok to not be ok.
Let us take comfort in the knowledge that, we have a God who cares for our mental health. Philippinians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.