Volume 06 | November 2019
Aligning Action for Health
This month, we're focusing on the importance of including psychological first aid (PFA) as part of an overall disaster response. PFA was developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD, with contributions from individuals involved in disaster research and response.

Stress and anxiety naturally increase after a disaster and people cope in many different ways. PFA is designed to reduce the initial distress caused by traumatic events and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning and coping through core actions.

The eight PFA Core Actions include:

  • Contact and Engagement: To respond to contacts initiated by survivors, or to initiate contacts in a non-intrusive, compassionate, and helpful manner.
  • Safety and Comfort: To enhance immediate and ongoing safety, and provide physical and emotional comfort.
  • Stabilization (if needed): To calm and orient emotionally overwhelmed or disoriented survivors.
  • Information Gathering on Current Needs and Concerns: To identify immediate needs and concerns, gather additional information, and tailor PFA interventions.
  • Practical Assistance: To offer practical help to survivors in addressing immediate needs and concerns.
  • Connection with Social Supports: To help establish brief or ongoing contacts with primary support persons and other sources of support, including family members, friends, and community helping resources.
  • Information on Coping: To provide information about stress reactions and coping to reduce distress and promote adaptive functioning.
  • Linkage with Collaborative Services: To link survivors with available services needed at the time or in the future.

The trainings listed below all focus on mental health and PFA. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also provides tips for emergency and disaster response workers on managing intense emotions. That information can be found here .

We appreciate your continued support and ask that you share this e-blast with colleagues and organizations who might find it beneficial. Those who did not receive the e-blast directly can sign-up to receive it by clicking the button below.
Partner Spotlight: Louisiana Spirit
The Louisiana Spirit Crisis Counseling Program (commonly referred to as “Louisiana Spirit”) is a federally funded crisis counseling program for individuals, families, and groups affected by disasters. Louisiana Spirit provides adult and child needs assessment, makes referrals to disaster relief services including behavioral health and substance use treatment, reviews disaster recovery options, and provides information about available resources and services. The program is under the auspices of the Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Behavioral Health, which is responsible for the delivery and coordination of disaster behavioral health services across the state.

Louisiana Spirit has become an important model for response to a variety of catastrophic events including hurricanes, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, and most recently, the floods of 2016 and 2017. During the one-year period spanning the two flooding events, Louisiana Spirit provided almost 30,000 individual counseling sessions, resulting in referrals to other services for more than 40 percent of the individuals.

To learn more about this program, click here .
Training Opportunities
CDC Learning Opportunities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a great resource for learning opportunities.
They offer thousands of training opportunities through their online learning system TRAIN. Below are a few courses focused on mental health and psychological first aid.

You can view the entire library of courses by clicking here .
LA-HRH Learning Opportunities
Standing training opportunities are also offered by the LA-HRH through Tulane's Learning Management System (LMS) . Those interested in taking an LMS training can fill out and submit the new user form here . Please note that new accounts may take up to one business day (24 hours) for approval. Once an account has been set up, users have access to the full library of trainings.

Need Training, Resources, or Educational Tools?
Do you or your organization need training, resources, or educational tools related to hurricane preparedness and/or disaster response? The LA-HRH can help meet your needs by providing technical assistance. 

  • Simple requests are usually fulfilled by email
  • Requests that need more discussion will be handled by phone
  • If we don’t have the tools to answer your request, we will connect you to those that can
  • We can also provide relevant training and educational opportunities

Topics addressed include surveillance tools and training; disaster epidemiology; air safety; water safety; vector control; mold and chemical hazards; carbon monoxide; responder safety; trauma and wellness support; protective equipment and electrical safety; clean-up procedures; and communication/marketing needs.
Second Edition of The Hub Speaks Out Now
The National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) has released the second edition of The Hub Speaks . In t his issue of the newsletter, the Florida Hurricane Response Hub Technical Assistance Center highlights how public health practitioners can use data to identify vulnerability hotspots (and offers a live demo); Robin Pfohman, Community Resilience + Equity Program Manager with Public Health - Seattle and King County, discusses how public health professionals and emergency managers can prioritize the needs of communities experiencing vulnerability; and more information about the launch of Project ECHO is shared.

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Funding for this project has been provided to the NNPHI through a Cooperative Agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC – NU1ROT000004-01-00). NNPHI is collaborating with the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) and the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health on this project.

The LPHI, founded in 1997, is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit and public health institute that translates evidence into strategy to optimize health ecosystems. Our work focuses on uncovering complementary connections across sectors to combine the social, economic, and human capital needed to align action for health. We champion health for people, within systems, and throughout communities because we envision a world where everyone has the opportunity to be healthy. For more information, visit www.lphi.org .