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Johns Hopkins University

Psychological First Aid

Johns Hopkins University via Coursera


Learn to provide psychological first aid to people in an emergency by employing the RAPID model: Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition.

Utilizing the RAPID model (Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition), this specialized course provides perspectives on injuries and trauma that are beyond those physical in nature. The RAPID model is readily applicable to public health settings, the workplace, the military, faith-based organizations, mass disaster venues, and even the demands of more commonplace critical events, e.g., dealing with the psychological aftermath of accidents, robberies, suicide, homicide, or community violence. In addition, the RAPID model has been found effective in promoting personal and community resilience.

Participants will increase their abilities to:
- Discuss key concepts related to PFA
- Listen reflectively
- Differentiate benign, non-incapacitating psychological/ behavioral crisis reactions from more severe, potentially incapacitating, crisis reactions
- Prioritize (triage) psychological/ behavioral crisis reactions
- Mitigate acute distress and dysfunction, as appropriate
- Recognize when to facilitate access to further mental health support
- Practice self-care

Developed in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Open Education Lab.


  • Introduction
    • In this first week, we have some materials to get you oriented, a pre-course survey, two lectures on history and terms and concepts and a simulated look at PFA in action.
  • Reflective Listening/Rapport
    • This week, we'll be looking more closely at the R component of our RAPID model.
  • Assessment and Prioritization
    • This week, we'll be looking more closely at the A and P components of our RAPID model. A stands for Assessment, and P stands for Prioritization.
  • Intervention and Disposition
    • This week, we'll be looking more closely at the I and D components of our RAPID model in Lectures 7 and 8, respectively. I stands for Intervention, and D stands for Disposition.
  • Self-Care and Wrap-Up
    • Now that we've gone through the entire RAPID model, we'll turn our intention to you, the provider.

Taught by

George Everly



4.4 rating, based on 49 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 17377 ratings

Start your review of Psychological First Aid

  • Adelyne Chan completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    A nice and concise introduction to psychological first aid, a course which I took purely out of interest (having 0 background in the field) and I really enjoyed the experience. George Everly Jr takes a lot of care to explain all of the concepts very thoroughly,...
  • This course is eye-opening in the sense that it shows that anyone can make a difference in the lives of acute event survivors even in seemingly-"little" ways such as rendering systematic and appropriate psychological first aid. The RAPID model emphasizes community involvement since even non-professionals can do it as long as they are compassionate and conscientious.
  • Heather completed this course, spending 10 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    It was a very concise and interesting course. I had taken it as I am in ministry work and felt that this would be helpful as we have had three fires in my area that had devastated small towns and big city and had no idea how I could help. I am hoping that I don't ever have to use this skill but it is great to have it.
  • I'd say that the best part about this course is that they show you the "right" and the "wrong" choices made in a scenario. I only took this because I'm interested in psychology but I found a lot of techniques I can use even in day-to-day scenarios.
  • Chris completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This was an immensely practical and straightforward introduction to psychological first aid which incorporated a robust and easy to implement framework for providing PFA. Very highly recommended!!
  • Profile image for Star Ringhillard
    Star Ringhillard

    Star Ringhillard completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This course should be mandatory for anyone who intends to help others in the case of a disaster. People go into shock and need someone who is empathetic n compassionate. This course helps give the caregiver confidence to approach someone in trouble. Excellent course.
  • Profile image for Anna D
    Anna D

    Anna D completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.

    This is a good introductory course to psychological aid. It equips you with valuable insights on how to rapidly assess emergency situations, and how to provide emotional support and relief to affected people. Then, takes it a step further and offers...
  • Profile image for Mohamed Naiem Taha
    Mohamed Naiem Taha
    ممتازه جدا ورائعه

    ممنون جدا لتوافرها

    شكرا لاتاحتها

    الماده العلميه جيده جدا وسهله واسلوبها رشيق
  • Armando Vazquez Mena

    Armando Vazquez Mena completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Great course for people who want to know how to help other in distress. I fantastic to have the desire and will to help when is needed, but it's also important to know how to do it.

    The course is clear and understandable, with lots of useful information that can even be apply in our daily life.

    I totally recommend it!
  • Marina Jevdokimova completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    A really helpful course both for disaster workers etc, and simply for improving your ability to help and support people. Highly recommended!
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I really enjoyed this course. The professor was easy to understand and seem to generally enjoy teaching the subject. It was quick and easy. It also sparked my interest to volunteer or help others around me. The course was entertaining and informative. I felt like I really learned a lot! I recommend this for anyone and everyone regardless of your career or passion to help others. You never know... this could help you!
  • Profile image for Ejaz Sikander Khan
    Ejaz Sikander Khan

    Ejaz Sikander Khan completed this course, spending 7 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    this was my first time i tried to learn about psychology first i find it boring and difficult
    i thought it not my up of tea but when i saw 3rd video and realized the importance of this course i started spending more and more time on watching course videos and try to study notes
    i found during this course our words can heal our words have hidden magic !
  • Profile image for Hazal

    Hazal completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Easy and enjoyable course suitable for people with no background in the area. George is a very good instructor and explains really well the concept and the RAPID model of psychological first aid. I recommend this course to everyone.
  • George Ralekgokgo

    George Ralekgokgo is taking this course right now.

    My review about the course is quite simple psychology first aid is the knowledge we all need at the time of need, from homes, schools, and in the community
  • Thanks to Dr George.Everly Jr Phd for bringing out the course in a well organized nutshell covering many aspects of application and scope Of psychological First Aid which includes various techniques of learning such as Videos, Case Vignette, Simulation...
  • Suhaila Ahmadi

    Suhaila Ahmadi is taking this course right now, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    this couse is going to help me alot. it including very good subject. I will get good information, subsequently I can use it in the necessary time.
  • Md Akhlaque Hussain
    I like the course because I can help those traumatized people whose lives are pitiable.Best way to serve humanity particularly in the crisis hours of dreaded disease, Corona.The neighbour & the whole world are sufferer.I want to console them, providing extra energy through applying this course so that they become able to face the trauma with mental wellness
  • The course Psychological First Aid was practical and very engaging. Based on my core respinsibles as well as the areas I volunteer in my community, I found the course content very useful.

    The videos and demontstaions used to convey the contents of the course made it very interesting. I have since told my coworkers and other associates about the course. I need to verify how to get the certificate to show them evidence of what I consider a great accommplishment.
  • Vicente Saldanha
    Creio ser de vital importância a compreensão da situação psicologica apresentada no momento da crise pois nos possibilita na compreensão não somente da situação externo (da consciência ), mas sibretudo, da situação intra psiquica, ou seja, a compreensão dos conteudos inconscientes que atormentam a vida psíquica.
  • Ann Carroll
    I thought I had a general idea about the topic. I found it deeper and more widely applicable than I realized at first! I recommend it to those new to the topic, potential disaster volunteers, those living in disaster prone areas and as a citizen so you too can be a helper others can look to in an emergency!

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