Implementing Psychological First Aid (PFA) in School and Postsecondary Settings


On Wednesday August 21, 2013 the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) and the Readiness and Emergency Management (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center hosted a webinar that provided an in-depth review of the “A Closer Look” section of the Obama Administration’s recently released Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans and Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education. These new Guides, developed by ED in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Justice (DOJ), led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Health and Human Services, represent the culmination of years of work by the Federal government.

The webinar was presented by Nancy Kelly, Public Health Advisor, CMHS, SAMHSA, HHS. Ms. Kelly works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program. Before arriving at CMHS, she served as a project director and senior training and technical assistance specialist. Ms. Kelly provided training and technical assistance on the Safe Schools/Healthy Students project and the Tribal Youth Program. She served as project director for the Improving Mental Health Assessment and Service Delivery for Youth Expelled from Schools in California study. She has also served as a vice principal and an adjunct professor and lecturer of psychology and education. Ms. Kelly also served in grant programs related to substance abuse prevention and intervention, mental health prevention/early intervention, academic success, violence prevention, and social/emotional well-being.

This webinar provided participants with a description of PFA, its role following an emergency, and its use in both the K-12 and higher education settings. Additionally, strategies for developing the necessary supports prior to an emergency, and for implementing PFA when needed, will be presented.

This 52-minute webinar session included a live PowerPoint presentation, as well as a Question and Answer session following the presentation.


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School Safety Partners is dedicated to creating long-term funding partnerships to support school safety best practices. We are both a community of interest and a facilitator of joint research projects, reaching out to the general public as well as stakeholders in the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors. Our purpose is to create a space for stakeholders where true partnering can occur in order to make school safety sustainable beyond Federal funding. Since our start in January, 2008, our projects have addressed the legislative, training, compliance, funding, and public awareness sides of school safety.

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