Sichuan Earthquake Psychological First Aid Training
In the aftermath of the recent Sichuan Earthquake, AusAID sponsored AAMH to urgently assemble and coordinate an Australian team of disaster mental health experts to provide psychological first aid training to nearly 300 Sichuan disaster relief workers and health professionals.
The team was led by Prof. Beverley Raphael (Chair, National Taskforce for Disaster Mental Health and Professor, Population Mental Health and Disasters at the University of Western Sydney), Andrew Coghlan (National Manager, Red Cross) and Dr Robert Parker (Director of Psychiatry, Top End Mental Health Services). A/Prof. Chee Ng and Julia Fraser (Co-Directors of AAMH) facilitated the training program in conjunction with Peking University Institute of Mental Health.
The 3-day training program was conducted in conjunction with the Peking University Institute of Mental Health in mid-July, 2008 in Chengdu and was very positively received by the participants. The program was the first disaster mental health training conducted by an overseas agency to be officially recognised by the Chinese government.
As a follow-up, AAMH will facilitate placements for 2-3 Chinese mental health professionals, supported by RANZCP, to undertake training in Australia in disaster mental health during the coming months.
View a presentation about AAMH's Psychological First Aid training in Sichuan.
Read about this project in AusAID's Summer/Autumn 2008 newsletter.
You can also listen to A/Prof Chee Ng and Ms Julia Fraser, Co-Directors, AAMH talking about the disaster project in Sichuan on the Australian radio program LifeMatters.
Above: Team leader Beverley Raphael (middle) with participants of the Mental Health First Aid Training Program in Chengdu in July, 2008. Members of the Australian team were privileged to visit a refugee camp 30 kilometres outside Chengdu during their stay (shown above). They were humbled by the resilience and spirit of the survivors.