Announcement Archive

Successful Launching of Psychological First Aid (PFA) Seminar at WB TDLC

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

story from Tokyo Development Learning Center

Panelists for PFA Seminar
Panelists for PFA Seminar at TDLC Studio on December 13, 2013.

The first delivery of the Psychological First Aid (PFA): Mutual Support for Resiliency after Crisis, a distance learning seminar was launched on December 13, 2013 at the World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center (WB TDLC). The seminar, which was one of the WB TDLC “Mental Well-being and Development Distance Learning Series”, was jointly organized by WB TDLC and the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH), National Institute of Mental Health in Japan, and the War Trauma Foundation based in the Netherlands, in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). Experts from each organization came to the studio at WB TDLC and distance learning centers in China, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam joined in on the session via a video conference connection. The participants, key stakeholders in health and also disaster risk management in respective countries learned through role play and highly interactive exercises on what to do and not to do to provide practical assistance to others, as well as importance of integrating mental and psychological perspectives in policies and programs in crises situations such as a disaster.

WB TDLC’s PFA distance learning seminar is based on the practical field guide issued by the WHO in 2010, “Psychological First Aid: Guide for Field Workers”, which is endorsed by major international agencies and NGOs, including the United Nations entities. PFA has been acknowledged as practical and relevant, and is widely employed; the WHO version of PFA orientation is mandatory for human resources and security staff working in various locations around the world for United Nations, and since the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011, PFA has also been in wide use in Japan. 

The seminar started with a video message by Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Director, Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, WHO, followed by Dr. Yoshiharu Kim, Director, National Information Center of Disaster Mental Health who introduced the experiences of supporting people affected by disasters, including the most recent one in March 2011. One of the authors of the field guide, Dr. Leslie Snider of the War Trauma Foundation led the seminar from the TDLC studio.

Preceding the launch of this PFA Training, a public forum was held in the Elizabeth Rose International Conference Hall at the UN House, Tokyo organized by WB TDLC with partners, UNU-IIGH, the National Institute of Mental Health in Japan, the War Trauma Foundation, and Plan Japan on December 12, 2013. The event targeting the Japanese general public featured a keynote speech by Dr. Snider and a panel discussion consisting of experts from each of the partner organizations.

The WB TDLC is committed to providing learning opportunities on how to integrate mental and psychosocial perspectives in crisis response, disaster risk management and overall development policies and programs. To this end, we will be hosting deliveries of the distance PFA seminar at 2-3 month intervals.