New Psychological First Aid Course For Red Cross Volunteers 10/06/13
CBS 7 News
October 6, 2013
MIDLAND, TX—When disasters happen and families lose their homes or loved ones, it's the Red Cross who's there to provide these families with basic needs, and to help them cope.
This weekend the Red Cross of the Permian Basin offered a new Psychological First Aid course to its employees and staff members.
This class is meant to help Red Cross volunteers recognize and provide immediate support to those in stressful situations.
Imagine you just lost your home, all of your possessions, or a loved one during a disaster—how would you deal with this? How would you help support someone going through this exact situation?
These scenarios are what volunteers and staff members of the American Red Cross here in the Permian Basin deal with when there are disasters.
Leah Vernia-Amend, a professional mental health worker, says that's why the Red Cross developed this Psychological First Aid course, to be able to prepare volunteers to deal with people who are involved in a crisis.
"Not only are the people that they're going to be working with, going through those kind of emotional changes, but the people who are volunteers are going through their own emotional changes, so they need to be prepared to not only take care of the people, but themselves as well," said Vernia-Amend.
During the class Leah handed out packets, and a note card explaining how to provide a compassionate environment and how to give immediate support to those experiencing a traumatic event.
Leah says just sitting down and making a connection with a victim can make the biggest difference in one's life.
Stephanie Murphree, the Executive Director at Red Cross, says it's an in-depth process when you’re working with disaster victims.
"We're just trying to prepare those folks who are going out on behalf of the Red Cross to help those who are in need, and be able to face any experiences that they deal with in the field," said Murphree.
The Red Cross here in the Permian Basin covers 20 counties and is always in desperate need of volunteers. All the training for volunteers is free.
If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering visit www.RedCross.org/Tx/Midland or call 432-563-2267.