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. The team is led by Linda Semlitz, MD and Mary O’Leary, PhD, LCP. The team also includes Britt Gonsoulin, MD, MPH, Gina Wind, PhD, Laura Sachs, MSW, LICSW, Lauren Storck, PhD, and Mary Stowell, PhD.

Certification is required for all PFA volunteers. Here are the steps toward certification:  
  1. Watch the Introduction to Psychological First Aid video.
  2. Take the National Traumatic Stress Network PFA course here. The training includes a 6-hour interactive course that puts the participant in the role of a provider in a post-disaster scene. This course is for individuals new to disaster response who want to learn the core goals of PFA, as well as for seasoned practitioners who want a review. It features innovative activities, video demonstrations, and mentor tips from the nation’s trauma experts and survivors. PFA online also offers a Learning Community where participants can share about experiences using PFA in the field, receive guidance during times of disaster, and obtain additional resources and training.

PLEASE NOTE: PFA Online will be updated to a new version in January 2021. Please plan either to finish PFA Online by December 2020 or wait until January 2021 for the new course. You will not be able to finish your in-progress course once NCTSN has updated. NCTSN is currently in the process of developing a new version of PFA Online with improved browser compatibility. If you are in the process of taking PFA online when the course is retired at the end of December, you will need to retake the new version of PFA in order to receive your certificate. If you have completed the current version of PFA Online, be sure to download your certificate before the course update occurs.

Additional training resources:



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:

  • 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 9 months now . . . and winter is coming. 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.  

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


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