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.


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 PFA team leads with your interest or with any questions.

There are multiple ways to get a brief introduction to PFA prior to taking a certification course by going to our the Bainbridge Prepares website or attending one of our virtual trainings through Bainbridge Prepares.

The following PFA Online trainings for Certification are available:

The following resources are also available:

Community Emergency Response Team members should take this PFA training.



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.  
  • 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.

This information on grief and loss appeared in the Kitsap County Emergency Operations Center Coronavirus Update:

Coping with COVID: Grief and loss

When natural disasters happen, it is normal for people to experience loss and grief. Many of us have felt some form of loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, like the loss of a loved one, change in health, job loss, or even just the loss of our “normal” life. Any grief and loss we might be feeling is layered on top of all the other stress of a pandemic. It’s ok to not feel ok if you are grieving a loss, especially during a natural disaster like this one.

This episode of the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) Coping with COVIDpodcast series talks about how most people experience grief and loss, and provides strategies for families to cope as we make our way through the pandemic.

To find more resources for mental health during COVID-19, visit DOH’s mental and emotional wellbeing webpage or check out the Behavioral Health Toolbox for Families.

If you need someone to talk to about stress due to COVID-19, call Washington Listens at 1-833-681-0211.


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