Psychological First Aid

This team leads trainings for citizens that show how we can ALL lend important emotional support to friends and neighbors in times of crisis. PFA is not a medical or psychological treatment. PFA provides support by trained volunteers and links individuals to additional resources as needed. The team is led by Linda Semlitz, MD, and Mary O’Leary, PhD, LCP. The team also includes Kelsey Lynch (our BIPD Community Health Navigator), Britt Gonsoulin, MD, MPH, Lauren Storck, PhD, and Mary Stowell, PhD.


The Psychological First Aid (PFA) Team of Bainbridge Prepares seeks Volunteers who will complete the PFA Certificate Training online (free and at your own convenience), and then serve during potential emergencies at Bainbridge Island Hubs. A mental health or medical background is not required. PFA is an essential skill for anyone helping out during a disaster. To provide PFA at a HUB during a disaster, certification is required. In addition, to be deployed, emergency volunteers must be registered with the City of Bainbridge Island. COBI-EM-Volunteer-Program-Feb-2019-FINAL (

Please email the PFA team leads with your interest or with any questions: 

There are two ways to get a brief introduction to PFA prior to taking a certification course: this webpage and attending one of the PFA virtual trainings through Bainbridge Prepares. 

The following PFA CERTIFICATION TRAININGS are online. If you complete one, please email a copy of completion to the team leads. 

The following resources are also available:

Community Emergency Response Team members should take the PFA Certification Training. Other BP Volunteers will also be doing the PFA Certificate Training, and inquiries are invited from the community. 

The PFA Team is building communications with Certified PFA Volunteers over time. BP also offers related trainings of interest. 


A PFA Certified Volunteer will:

    • Reply to calls for deployment, after taking care of self, family, and neighbors.
    • Go to their assigned or nearest hub for a 6-8 hour shift and more shifts, if possible, 
    • Check in with the designated hub manager and locate the PFA binder of materials. 
    • LOOK, LISTEN, AND LINK with people needing PFA services.  
    • Address additional needs according to guidelines in the binder. 
    • Coordinate with others on the PFA team as possible. 


If you or someone close to you needs additional help, do the following:
  1. Check in with your primary care physician or pediatrician.
  2. Get help from a mental health provider. Bainbridge Psychotherapy Guild has a list of mental health providers on Bainbridge Island here.
  3. Make a call to the Washington Listens telephone line for pandemic-related stress: 833-681-0211.
  4. Call the Crisis Clinic of the Peninsulas: 360-479-3033.
  5. For an emergency, contact 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Additional resources:

  • This video is an interview with Bainbridge Island’s Community Health Coordinator Kelsey Lynch.

  • The COVID Coach app designed by the VA is a free tool for coping with stress, anxiety, and low mood during the pandemic.
  • Physician Support Line is a free national and confidential support line service made up of 600+ volunteers joined together in the determined hope to provide peer support for our physician colleagues as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Access it here or call 1-888-409-0141.
  • The Science of Well-Being is a course offered by Yale University through Coursera for free.
  • The Alliance for Inclusion and Prevention has released its Telehealth Guidelines for School Mental Health Professionals: Strategies for Engaging Students and Building Resilience. Access it here.
  • Medicaid covers certain mental health services. To find out if a particular service is covered, click here. In addition, tele-health services are provided. Coinsurance and deductibles apply, though some healthcare providers are reducing or waiving the amount you pay for telehealth visits. 
  • Washington Listens provides support with pandemic-related stress and emotional fallout caused by COVID-19. People can also access the service via telephone at 1-833-681-0211.
  • Dr. Roby Marcou’s Facebook page offers a host of resources to help with COVID-19. 
  • COVID-19: Resources to Promote Mental Well-Being is a list of support available from the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The resources range from free phone or video support to training presentations on Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR).
  • Black Mental Health Resources is a page on the Mental Health Coalition website that lists resources that support Black mental health.
  • Check out The Ingredients of Resilience Handout.
  • Maintaining Mental Health During the Corona Virus offers tips for yourself and how to help a friend.
  • Check out 25 Tips for Coping with Quarantine.
  • COVID has been here for over a year and continues. Mental health issues related to the pandemic are especially hard for people with depression and other mental health disorders. The relapse and overdose rate has increased by 30 percent since March 2020. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has a 24-hour text helpline. Text NAMI 741741 or call between 9 am and 5 pm: 800-950-6264.
  • Wired magazine has published an article listing three digital-based services to support mental health.

Also be sure to check out the Bainbridge Prepares Wellness Team page.

Get free counseling from a mental health professional at Helpline House. Phone: 206-842-7621. Address: 282 Knechtel Way NE, Bainbridge Island.