Psychological First Aid for COVID-19 Frontline Workers in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities

Theme(s):
Behavioral Health, COVID-19 Response, Mental Health


The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health has received funding from UNICEF USA (UUSA) to support the development and dissemination of a culturally adapted Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide and online training course for COVID-19 frontline workers in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.

With this project, the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health continues work to support mental health in Native communities, an important endeavor that has only become more urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a crisis such as this pandemic, the need for mental health support and care often outpaces the availability of services from licensed clinicians and health professionals. 


PFA training programs have been used globally in the wake of disaster events and are a promising tool to meet urgent needs for mental health support. The intervention is meant to train frontline workers (e.g., community health workers, health care workers, etc.) and equip them with basic skills to support their own well-being as well as the mental well-being of their co-workers and those they serve. 

The Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health is adapting content from a PFA manual developed for frontline workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic globally by the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee. We have engaged a collaborative work group of Indigenous public health, mental health, and frontline workers to steer and inform the adaptation of PFA for frontline COVID-19 workers in AI/AN communities. 

The primary goals of this project are to: 

  • Develop Psychological First Aid for COVID-19 Frontline Workers in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities
  • Develop an online training for frontline workers to interact with the content in the guide 
  • Evaluate the resulting training with N = 200 frontline workers in AI/AN communities to learn if it is acceptable and effective 
Guide and Additional Resources

Click here to download the guide
Psychological First Aid 
for COVID-19 Frontline Workers in 
American Indian/Alaska Native Communities
 

 
Additional Resources
 
Training

The online Psychological First Aid for COVID-19 Frontline Workers in American Indian/Alaska Native Communities training teaches the content of the guide and brings it to life. This training is free and can be completed remotely at your own pace. Click here to sign up for the training.

Training Resources

Need help signing up for the training or navigating the course? Use the resources below:

Training registration guide

Training navigation guide  

We would like to recognize the individuals and organizations who advised this project and helped shape our online guide and training:

Mary Ann Cook, DNP, RN (Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians), Red Lake IHS Hospital
Ashleigh Coser, Ph.D. (Muscogee (Creek), Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nations) Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma
CAPT Cindy Gunderson, PharmD, Red Lake IHS Hospital
Kyle Hill, PhD, MPH (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa enrolled citizen, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate and Cheyenne River Sioux descendant), Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health
Native American LifeLines of Baltimore and Boston
Sophie Neuner, MD, MPH, (Karuk), Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health
Shardai Pioche, MSW (Diné), Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

Design and layout of the guide and online training were provided by Design de Plume Inc., an Indigenously-owned creative firm located in the Robinson-Huron Treaty area. Design and layout of the annex was provided by the PFA adaptation team. 

A social media tookit for Pyschological First Aid is available here.

The adapted PFA guide and training will be made widely available on this webpage for any frontline workers interested in using these resources.

Main photo by: Dr. Nina Mayer Ritchie

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