Psychological First Aid For Schools: Listen, Connect & Protect Model

The American Psychiatric Association acknowledged in 1954 that there is a need to intervene when individuals experience stress caused by environmental reasons. Today, research supports the idea that immediate, concise, and focused intervention can decrease the social and emotional distress after a traumatic event. This is done by inaugurating the feelings of physical and emotional safety among children and adults. Therefore, this article will focus on summarizing the Psychological First Aid for Schools: Listen Protect Connect (LPC) Model and Teach.

Therefore, this article will focus on summarizing the Psychological First Aid for Schools: Listen Protect Connect (LPC) Model and Teach.
The LPC is a model to prompt and help focus on supporting and giving assistance to students by teachers. This five-step program includes procedures on how to communicate with children who have gone through a crisis, that interrupted their regular learning environment, such as death and school lockdowns. However, it is also directly relevant to the current COVID-10 pandemic which significantly disrupted the lives of children and adults around the world. These steps are based on a model of cognitive and behaviour learning, which teaches children how to put their experiences into words. It also provides them with support and encouragement by engaging in problem solving strategies, and towards the end students are taught about how traumatic stress can affect human behaviour.

 Step 1 – Listen

Molly of Denali (2020)

Teachers should allow their students to share their experiences and feelings of worry, anxiety, fear, or concerns about their safety. The teachers should establish rapport and a trust with the student by engaging in their interest and empathy. Students should also know it’s safe and okay to share their experiences. Here, the teachers can ask the following questions:

  • Tell me how you have been affected by the stay at home orders during the pandemic?
  • What is your schedule like from Monday through Friday?

Step 2 – Protect

Molly of Denali (2020)

The school staff should try to establish feelings of emotional and physical safety among their students. This can be done by offering information, such as what is being done in the community and the school to keep everyone safe. Here, the school staff can ask the following questions:

  • Are you worried about your safety or the safety of others?
  • What are you most worried about right now?

Step 3 – Connect

Molly of Denali (2020)

One of the biggest concern for people who have experienced trauma is the fear of emotional and social isolation. In this step, teachers help students to get back into their normal relationships in order to receive social support. This can be done via online learning environments which promote a sense of belonging and stability. Here, teachers can ask the following questions:

  • What can your friends or family do to help you?
  • What do you think you can do to make things better?

 

Step 4 – Model

Molly of Denali (2020) 

In this step, the teachers acknowledge the disruption to school and many other aspects of daily life. They also acknowledge the needs of students and others around them when they “get back to normal.” This means that teachers should demonstrate a positive and enthusiastic approach to a new normal by showing that they can effectively cope with the stress despite the fear or loss they’ve experienced. Here, they can say the following things:

  • Thank you for the courage you have shown throughout the process and for sharing your concerns with me.
  • Let’s brainstorm some of the ways other students and adults are coping.

Step 5 – Teach

Molly of Denali (2020)

In this step, teachers and psychologists focus on teaching common reactions to the emergency event or disaster. They discuss constructive ways of adapting and coping to new challenges and the change because students may have a more difficult time learning during or after a crisis. Here are the list of common reactions among children that may cause them new worries and distress:

  • Emotional reactions: increased worries and fears about health and safety
  • Behavioural reactions: decreased attention, changes in sleep, and mood
  • Cognitive reactions: repeated questions about the event & trauma reminders
  • Physical reactions: increase startle response, somatic complaints i.e., headaches, stomachaches, lack of appetite, tired

How to Engage Parents and Caregivers of Students of Concern (SOC)

Molly of Denali (2020)

Here are the list of questions that teachers can ask parents and caregivers of students during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. I have been thinking about [name the student] and wondering how you and/or your family are doing?
  2. How have you and your family been impacted by pandemic and all the shutdowns?
  3. So who is all home now?
  4. Has it been possible for [name the student] to find some time to do some schoolwork?

While asking these questions, teachers should focus on improving adult-to-adult relationships. The genuine connections you make with the parents and caregivers will lay the groundwork for your success with their child (student) as well. It is also important to understand who may be able to offer support to a student and who may have elevating family anxiety.Due to this, make sure you have such discussions with the parents. Use the final phase of your conversation to summarize everything you talked about. Remember, if you do have a difficult conversation with a family, consult with your supervisor, colleagues, Whole Child Wellness support team, and other teachers in order to decide the right course of action.

 

 

References:

Wong, M, (2020). Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Schools, Teachers, and Students. North American Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. Retrieved from http://nactatr.com/files/2020NACTATR-PFA.pdf

Cameron, J.K., Wong, M., & Rivard, P.G. (2020). Appendix B- Guidelines: For Administrators in Support of their Teachers and Staff: How to Engage Parents and Caregivers of Students of Concern (SOC). North American Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response. Retrieved from http://nactatr.com/files/2020NACTATR-RCApxB.pdf

 

Battling the Mental Health Curve: A Preventative Approach

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that the 3rd leading cause of disease burden worldwide was depression and that depression was predicted to become the leading cause by 2030.

  • In Canada, the chances of having a mental illness or a substance use disorder in your lifetime is 1 in 3 (Pearson, Janz & Ali, 2015).
  • The percentage of people who die by suicide who had a diagnosable mental illness is 90% (Kirby & Keon, 2004).
  • The chances of experiencing or having a mental illness by the time you reach the age of 40 is 1 in 2 (Center for Addiction & Mental Health, 2019).
  • Canadians 15 years of age or older in the past 12 month period who reported symptoms consistent with either a major depressive episode, bipolar disorder, a generalized anxiety disorder, or alcohol/drug abuse was 2.8 million (Canadian Community Health Survey, 2012).
  • The rate of completed suicides amongst First Nations ages 15-24 is 5 to 7 times higher than the Canadian average for the same age group (Kahn, 2008).
  • First Nations people experience depression 2 times more than the national average (Khan, 2008).

Now, these are some bleak statistics. What is the point of sharing them? Awareness. Also, to bring introspection to another curve we will be facing as Canadians that we need to collectively flatten: the mental health curve.

The battle against the additional mental health consequences and current, exasperated mental health conditions due to COVID-19 is just beginning. Thankfully, we have qualified individuals and researchers who are working to combat that rise. However, you don’t need to be a doctor or have a PhD to do preventative care and upkeep of mental health. If done correctly, both result in an increase in overall mental health and well-being and less of a drain on the medical system in terms of healthcare, treatments, reactionary work, and so much more. You get the idea.

It is really easy for our own mental health rhythms to become uncoordinated when an upheaval in our lives occur. Even more so when a drastic upheaval, like COVID-19, occurs. Be gentle with yourself and with others in your life if your mental health has taken a turn. Experts are coming to a resounding consensus that we return to and stick to the basics to help make change. Take a look at the following preventative tips that can help:

 

Stuck at home? Out of ideas for activities? Try these!

And lastly, if you or someone you know needs additional supports outside the home, there is help. Please take a look at the following resources that are social distancing friendly and provide quality, expert help to both adults and children.

 

 

 

Resources:

Canadian Community Health Survey. (2012). Retrieved from:

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/130918/dq130918a-eng.htm

 

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. (2019). Mental illness and addictions: Facts and

statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/the-crisis-is-real/mental-health-statistics

 

Khan, S. (2008). Aboriginal health: The statistical reality. Retrieved from:

http://www.heretohelp .bc.ca /visions/aboriginal-people-vol5/aboriginal-mental-health-the-statistical-reality

 

Kirby, M. & Keon, W. (2004). Mental health, mental illness and addiction: Overview of

policies and programs in Canada. Retrieved from: https://mdsc.ca/docs/MDSC_ Quick_Facts_4th_Edition_EN.pdf

 

Pearson, C., Janz, T. & Ali, J. (2015). Mental and substance use disorders in Canada.

Retrieved from: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/ pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11855-eng.htm

 

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (2018). World drug report. Retrived from:

https://www.unodc.org/wdr2018/prelaunch/WDR18_ Booklet_2_GLOBAL.pdf

 

Coding and Robotics Professional Development

March 17, 2020
10:00AM- 3:00PM

PLEASE SEND 3 INTERESTED TEACHERS/EA’S FROM KINDERGARTEN – GRADE 6

Sub costs, travel and lunch will be provided

This full day session will provide hands on training using the Ozobot and the Robot Mouse. Through hands on learning, teachers will learn how to use coding and robotics to enhance their teaching practice.

Curriculum linked activities are available for all of the robots at https://www.saskcode.ca/activities/.

An emphasis is placed on student problem solving, resilience building and team work using coding and robotics. The robots we will use for this PD include Robot Mouse and Ozobot and will be geared to grade K to 4 teachers. Teachers of all grade levels are welcome.

Please send registration by March 9th to cyuzicappi@educationalliance.ca.

Treaty Education Alliance Embarks on Ottawa for Meeting with Indigenous Senators

Fort Qu’Appelle, SK — A delegation of First Nations leaders from across Saskatchewan, along with Youth Nation Builders from schools in the Treaty Education Alliance, are set to appear in Ottawa on February 25th, 2020 to share their vision for a new First Nations education system for the member First Nations of the Treaty Education Alliance.

The youth were invited to make a presentation to the Indigenous Senators’ of Canada. Together, they will share on the importance of a school system rooted in Inherent and Treaty Rights, focusing on key aspects such as language, culture, traditional knowledge, health, family, and identity.

The Treaty Education Alliance views this national event as an opportunity to raise awareness of, and build support for, their goal to negotiate an agreement with Canada to build a new education system. This new system will provide opportunities to nurture and develop children and youth as Nations Builders of their respective First Nations.

Each of the students attending the event will have an opportunity to present their unique assets, stories, and personalities, along with visions for the future of their Nations.

Sheena Koops, Nation Builder Advocate within the Treaty Education Alliance, has worked closely with the youth travelling to Ottawa over the past two years, and sees incredible growth in those who have embraced the program.

“We see students finding their voice, specifically around who they are and where they come from,” said Koops. “This trip to Ottawa gives our youth a chance to stand up and share what is important to them.”

Chief Brian Standingready, Special Advisor to the TEA Board of Directors, sees great importance in the ongoing negotiations with the federal government, including this delegation to Ottawa.

“What the TEA is proposing is a plan to develop their own education authority, based on a rich history that isn’t taught in the provincial curriculum,” said Standingready. “Our students are special. They have unique needs. They have specific requirements when it comes to mental health, nutrition, and specific challenges in their families.”

The Treaty Education Alliance currently works with five First Nation member schools, with staff bringing expertise in the areas of the early years, literacy and numeracy, Nation Builder engagement, Learning the Land, community engagement, Indigenous pedagogy, special needs programming, digital literacy, and online learning.

As part of negotiations, Treaty Education Alliance is seeking to create and implement a comprehensive system that will require a significant resource investment and commitment by Canada. Treaty Education Alliance leadership is firm in their belief that this commitment is long overdue, and necessary in this era of reconciliation; the benefits have potential to be far-reaching and significant to Canada through improved learning and life success outcomes for First Nations children and youth.

For more information on the Treaty Education Alliance, please visit https://www.educationalliance.ca.

For interview requests, please contact Chief Nathan Pasap at (306) 575-8208, or Lori Whiteman (306) 550-5770.

TEA Showcase & Trade Fair

Friday, December 06, 2019 at the Painted Hand Casino in Yorkton.

School Kickoff 2019