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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Emotional First Aid (also called Psychological First Aid) minimizes the lasting harm from traumatic events by treating it immediately. This is greatly preferable to ignoring the harm until it festers into a serious problem. Basic EFA may be taught in schools and community classes, with more advanced versions covering things like bereavement, sexual assault survivor assistance, etc. In Terramagne-America, an Emotional First Aide is roughly equivalent to an Emergency Medical Technician and they are often deployed in an ambulance, firetruck, or other first response vehicle. Many instutitions such as schools or malls also keep someone trained in EFA along with a nurse at the first aid station.


In T-America, a common EFA emblem is a red heart flanked by two serpents, the left silver and the right gold, each with one white wing extending outward. Their tails twine at the bottom point of the heart and their noses nearly touch at the top curve. Others include a red heart with a white cross, or the addition of a red heart to other medical insignia to mark cross-training in EFA.

An emotional first aid station provides comfort for acute psychological upsets. Like a physical first aid station, the idea is to treat minor problems so they don't become major problems, or provide immediate care for major problems until expert attention becomes available. They are often furnished similar to a quiet room with soothing decorations and furniture. Items use pastel or earthy colors, fuzzy or draping fabrics, and curving shapes to create a sense of safety. The door is customarily marked with a red heart featuring either the winged serpents or the white cross. Ideally, the EFA room will be staffed by an Emotional First Aide with comprehensive training, but often it's just someone with basic training from a class, peer counseling, helpline, or similar support. Thus when people feel upset or overloaded, they can seek help before things reach the point of explosion or meltdown.

What's the difference between a quiet room and an emotional first aid room? A quiet room is for self-help. An emotional first aid room is for seeking help from someone else. Wherever there will be children and/or people with special needs, EFA is highly advisable because they can't always regulate their own emotions and often need assistance. EFA rooms are a very useful source for learning how to handle stress and strong emotions, especially for people who missed some of those skills growing up.

EFA stations are about as common in Terramagne as physical first aid stations, slightly less so than restrooms. In fact a first aid station often offers emotional first aid as well as physical. Sometimes those occupy the same space; other times the physical and emotional facilities are side-by-side. This availability of quiet rooms and EFA substantially lowers disorderly incidents caused by stressful events or out-of-control feelings.

Most EFA rooms are designed to treat one person at a time, or a small group sharing the same problem. So they often have a sliding sign on the door that says something like "Counseling" or "EFA" with a red/occupied end and a green/vacant end.

In high-traffic areas, the EFA station may have a row of small soundproofed booths instead. These often have either smart glass that can be clear or frosted, or blinds that can be open or closed, to provide visual privacy.


Posters and Handouts
Posters provide visual interest and information. Popular choices include stress relief activities, coping skills, a coping flow chart, how to deal with your emotions, feelings yoga, managing big emotions, communication and problem-solving, and the problem-solving process.s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/75/ba/ca/75bacaa0e2241bfbd39d1b0d9f3bd23b.jpg

EFA rooms are typically stocked with many worksheets, brochures, and other handouts that help people understand and solve common problems. These may cover asking a question without blame, a list of coping skills, self-injury alternatives, aftermath of a fight questionnaire, conflict resolution skills ladder, challenging negative self-talk, positive reframe, 4-part nonviolent communication process, effective vs. ineffective communication, Gottman Repair Checklist, 5 finger communication, communication cards, vocabulary of emotions, universal human needs, basic feelings and needs, emotion wheel, feelings flower, color your feelings, cognitive distortions, and ten ways to untwist your thinking.


Living Assets
Plants and animals help people calm down. Houseplants and aquaria are popular in EFA rooms.

Here is an emotional first aid room with plants. In pleasant weather, you can even set up an EFA station on a balcony surrounded by potted plants and fresh air, like this one serving an apartment complex.

An aquarium helps people relax while watching pretty fish swim. This EFA room for children has an aquarium and a mural.


Reference Materials
EFA rooms often include a bookcase or basket of reading materials on topics such as self-help, psychology, personal growth, and gentle fiction. In Terramagne, any public reading area tends to have materials for various ages and languages, including picture books, unless target audiences are separated into specialized locations and collections. Often there are ereaders loaded with magazine subscriptions, public-domain books, and anything by local writers. These may include shopping options so that if you have to leave before you finish what you were reading, you can buy it and send it to your personal reading account.


EFA Supplies
An emotional first aid station usually keeps a stock of materials for information and support.

Emotional First Aid book
Brochures (emergency resources, emotional first aid, introversion vs. extroversion, problem drinking, sexual misconduct, substance abuse, troubled relationships, etc.)
Emergency numbers (counseling supervisor, building security, police, medical, fire, landlord, maintenance, utilities, crisis lines, etc.)


First Aid Kit
Unless it's in the same room as physical first aid, the EFA room needs its own basic first aid kit. (If very far from a physical first aid station, stock a more comprehensive kit here.) Make your own or buy a general-purpose first aid kit. You can easily design a kit based on things that commonly cause, result from, or otherwise accompany emotional distress: bumps and scrapes, twisted joints, overconsumption of food or drinks, low blood sugar, headaches, nausea, allergies, unexpected menstruation, sex/romance mishaps, anxiety, depression, and so forth.

Disposable gloves
Anti-itch cream
Aromatherapy (chamomile, lavender, peppermint, etc.)
Cough drops
Nasal spray
Packets of common pills (antihistamines, decongestants, digestive relief,
painkillers, etc.)
Antiseptic wipes or spray
Anaesthetic wipes or spray
Bruise wipes or liniment
First aid cream
Bandaids (including different skin tones, cartoons, and EFAids with inspirational
words
if you can find them)
Moleskin or foam (for blisters)
Liquid bandage
Mouthwash (for oral injuries or nausea)
Eye wash (for crying)
Contact washing fluid
Ace bandage
Cold pack
Hot pack
CPR mask with one-way valve
External thermometer
Nail clippers with file
Scissors
Tweezers


Personal Supplies
People want to look and feel their best when out and about. This section covers all the stuff that's not exactly first aid material but handles other personal needs. Check the travel size and personal health sections for affordable supplies.

Disposable combs
Hair ties
Shoelaces
Tampons
Maxi pads
Lotion
Cold cream (for removing makeup, which runs when crying)
Hand sanitizer
Wet wipes
Stain remover wipes
Big box of tissues (stock in bulk)
Tissue packets (to send home with people)
Henna paste or skin-safe markers (for reclaiming body)
Dissolving thought bubbles or notes to shred
Cheerful stickers
Temporary tattoos (animal or plain)
Thinking putty
Change of clothes (adult and child sizes)

Giveaways often make people feel better. Stickers are a favorite for kids, but you can include any small affordable tidbits that your local littles like. T-shirts can be very cheap in bulk, and fix the problem of spilling something on your shirt. Tissue packet holders are cheap and easy to make, an effective way of expressing care. If you have a bigger budget, consider fuzzy fleece blankets or small teddy bears. This page has a lot of EFA supplies.


Sustenance
When people are hungry or thirsty, it often wrecks both their mood and their self-control. Here are some compact items that solve a lot of urgent issues.

Candy for low blood sugar or nausea (cinnamon, ginger, honey-chamomile, peppermint, spearmint, etc.)
Clinical-grade chocolate (bars or squares)
Energy gels
Fiber cookies
Food bars (protein bars, jerky strips, etc.)
Saltines
Fruit juice
Sport drink mix packets
Vitamin packets
Bottled water

One of the most useful appliances for EFA is a teapot that makes 1-2 cups of tea. Just having a warm cup of something makes many people feel better. There are many classic and herbal teas for flavor or effect. White, green, and black tea all have caffeine for an energy boost, although decaffeinated versions are also available. Raspberry leaf tastes much like green tea, but without the caffeine, and relieves cramps. Chamomile and peppermint are good for soothing nerves and nausea. Ginger energizes and relieves nausea. Ginger-ginseng-ginko boosts mental alertness, very useful for asserting mind over emotions. Rosepetal-rosehip soothes stress, lifts the mood, and make it easier to access emotions.


Coping Skills Box
Coping skills are techniques for reducing stress. There are many ways to deal with upsetting situations. An emotional first aid room benefits from a poster and a basket of coping supplies. Here are some ideas for what to include.


Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are positive sayings that can help refocus thoughts and feelings in a better direction. It's important to choose an affirmation that feels true, because if it doesn't, the subconscious argues with it and it won't work. So you may need to work your way up the ladder of hope one rung at a time. It helps to keep a box of positive affirmations in the EFA room for people to use. You can print some on little slips of colorful paper.


EFA for Children
Some EFA rooms are designed especially for children at schools, daycare, hospitals, playgrounds, and so forth. These usually have extra safety features and toys. They may have a padded niche or corner for restless kids.

This is an emotional first aid room at a school. It has cozy furnishings, cuddly toys, a whiteboard for ideas, a table for art, and age-appropriate reading materials. It provides a soothing refuge to children who are still learning emotional regulation, sensory processing, and social skills. Schools usually have at least a few teachers trained in EFA, and the better ones have an Emotional First Aide along with the school nurse. This way when students become upset, someone is available to teach them coping skills. Set up the EFA room to maximize space, add color, and decorate the walls.


Emotional First Aid Skills
Self-care is the foundation of emotional first aid. It's what enables you to maintain a healthy baseline, from which you can deal with your own challenges or help other people with theirs. Read about the basics of self-care.

In order to give EFA, you need to stay calm, help people calm themselves down, and provide a non-anxious presence. It is difficult or impossible to solve problems while distressed, so treat the stress first, then solve the problem. Know how to comfort an upset person.

Emotional first aid applies both to yourself and to other people, useful both for minor and major problems, but in different ways. Know how to treat everyday emotional injuries or help someone through a crisis. It is important to distinguish between normal response (which heals on its own), disordered response (which may need a little extra support), and a disorder (which typically requires professional care). Just like physical injuries, mental injuries can be mild, moderate, or severe and need different levels of attention.

Understand that upsetting experiences can cause traumatic stress. There is a spectrum of responses. Acute stress reaction is a normal response to a horrible situation, which typically clears up on its own within a few days or weeks. However, EFA at this time can comfort people in distress and minimize the chance of lasting damage. Acute stress disorder lasts at least three days, up to one month (or whatever is the cutoff people are using for PTSD), and causes severe disruption to peace of mind and everyday activities, in which case professional care should be considered. EFA is good for buffering the effects, but also suggesting a threshold at which normal healing is not happening and assistance would be prudent. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a chronic condition which results from a single dreadful experience such as rape or a bad car accident. EFA is most useful for teaching someone coping skills or helping them deal with a flashback or other symptoms. Prolonged duress stress disorder results from long-term misery such as bullying, child abuse, domestic violence, war, imprisonment, or torture. As with PTSD, emotional first aid is best suited for moderating immediate symptoms or teaching self-regulation, but since this form is less known, support may also include alerting people that PDSD is a thing.

Trauma-informed care accounts for the fact that many survivors of trauma don't tell about it, and that they are prone to self-destructive behavior, rages, and other negative coping strategies. It also recognizes communal trauma and offers interventions. Pay attention to evidence-based care and best practices. There are tips for trauma survivors, therapists dealing with traumatized clients, and parents of traumatized children. Here's a whole batch of tipsheets on different types of trauma-informed care.

Bad things can cause the brain to start looping, endlessly repeating the same thought or memory. This is fundamentally a failure of the sorting-filing function of the memory processes. When it gets stuck long term, that's post-traumatic stress. So the way to fix that problem is to get the memory filed properly. Here are some things that people have found useful for breaking a mental loop.

Traumatic stress can make it difficult or impossible to determine when you are physically or psychologically safe. Therefore, I made a safety tracker to help people work through observable evidence of their security (or lack thereof) at present. An emotional first aid station should be a safe space.

Emotional drop is a natural effect that sometimes follows an emotional high. This can occur after any strong connection, such as a kink scene, cuddle party, convention of like-minded people, etc. It is more likely the more intense the feelings and intimacy get. It is also more likely if someone's everyday life contains a great deal less of intimacy and positive feelings. Drop may happen immediately after an event, most often a few hours, occasionally a few days. Know how to cope with emotional drop.

Connecting with your environment is a basic skill for getting out of your head and back into your body. The better you are at doing this yourself, the easier it tends to get when you need to talk someone else through the process.

Opening up is important if you want emotional first aid. People can't do much to help you if they don't know what's wrong. Talking about your feelings can help you work through them. Think about how to open up in a supportive environment.

Listening is vital to EFA. Some problems are best fixed by talking about them with a sympathetic listener -- for example, anything someone was told to keep silent about, such as abuse. Learn how to improve your listening skills.

Validation is a way of acknowledging someone else's feelings. Sometimes they'll fall apart on you because nobody would even agree that they had that problem or that it was bothersome. Just wait it out, then move on to the supportive listening and/or problem-solving phase of EFA. For some issues, the main thing people need is simply that validation -- for instance, it's the ultimate fix for gaslighting. Follow the steps to validate someone.

In the gym, a spotter helps you do exercises safely. In personal growth, an emotional spotter helps you stretch your limits without hurting yourself or others. Similar rules apply to doing both: Agree on a mutual goal, accept responsibility for assisting someone's safety, pay close attention, communicate clearly, and provide backup as needed. Know how to tell if someone is struggling and might need help.

You can also give emotional first aid long-distance. All the advice, unfortunately, is aimed at helping friends in meatspace. Considering how many of us have online intimates, this is not helpful. So I wrote a guide to help an online friend through a difficult time.


Mystical Assistance
Some people have challenges that go beyond the ordinary. This means that the usual methods of solving emotional problems may not work for them. Here are some ideas for addressing further concerns.

Empathy is the ability to perceive emotions from other people and/or to influence the feelings of others, through energy. This can be super useful for emotional first aid. It can also be super exhausting, or even risky if you have difficulty separating yourself from other people's feelings. Know how to cope with empathy.

Everything is made of energy. Mystical energy is something that certain people can perceive and influence. It is as essential as water, but like water, too much or too little can cause problems. Learn how to manage energy flows.

Some folks experience memories of other lives, which may be positive or negative. Many of the techniques for handling emotional upsets in this life will generalize well to handling those from other lives. However, there are additional methods for addressing farmemory issues.

Nobody copes well after bad sleep or no sleep; it is mood-wrecking at best and health-wrecking at worst. If you have tried the typical methods (or determined that you don't want to deal with the risks of conventional treatment such as sleeping pills) then consider alternatives. These are some mystical ways that people have used to get better sleep.


Promoting EFA
People often think that emotional support is only for children, but it's just as important for teens and adults. Here are some instructions for setting up emotional first aid at work. Generally speaking, it is easier to start small and build from there as more people get interested and want more services. All you really need to start is a room and someone to provide EFA. The other stuff is nice to have but not essential.


How to Make an Emotional First Aid Station
Anyone can set up an emotional first aid station, and you can customize its style and furnishings based on user needs. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive; you can often assemble one from materials already on hand. Consider what you want to use it for and plan accordingly. Choose a space; for most purposes, a small room is best. Visual and auditory privacy is very important, because EFA routinely involves intimate conversations and activities such as crying that most people would be embarrassed for others to overhear or see. Blinds, curtains, and folding screens are helpful for visual seclusion. You can buy or make acoustic panels for soundproofing.

Keep decorations simple. Soothing colors are best: ivory, rosepetal, peach, butter, mint, turquoise, lavender, silver, and tan may aid relaxation. Provide at least two things to sit or lie upon: a squashy chair, beanbag, couch, and/or floor cushions. This way you've got a place for the caregiver and recipient(s). An end table with a drawer and cabinet, or a bookcase with lower doors, is a good choice for holding books or other supplies. Add a pleasant, neutral focus such as an abstract painting or statue. If you have time to care for them, living components such as a houseplant or aquarium fish can help people calm down. Include a poster or guidebook of easy coping skills and emotional first aid to assist stress relief, because upset people may not remember steps they would typically use.

If children will be using this space, make sure the furniture suits them; provide a kiddie chair or beanbag. Quiet toys such as teddy bears, puzzles, or foam blocks are generally known. Seriously consider adding a carton of assorted sensory toys; although meant for children with special needs, they are soothing to everyone and are marketed for adults as "office toys." Include some options for expression such as coloring pages or a sand tray with figures.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-30 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] mashfanficchick
I'm torn between finding this information useful, and being incredibly frustrated that I don't live in T-America. But I am trying hard to stay on the "good" side, and so I'm using it as an impetus to look up sensory toys that might be helpful to me. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-30 12:39 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Embrace the power of 'both'... it's useful and frustrating.

First time I've run across a world I'd like to move to, rather than visit. [Most sound exciting, but you wouldn't want to live there.]

+1

Date: 2017-04-30 06:13 pm (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear
Some good fidgets would be useful right now.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-30 12:36 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Thank you, this helps clarify what I'm doing with Theodora. [I mean, aside from the main plot points] I knew she wanted to receive some sort of medical training as a Citizen First Responder... she can be pretty much anywhere in Manhattan faster than even a zoom wagon [which have to cope with NY traffic!] but her talents also mean she's cut out for EFA with a mystical bias.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-30 01:53 pm (UTC)
acelightning: shiny purple brain (brain)
From: [personal profile] acelightning
Why doesn't this world have these in every school, in every hospital, in every shopping mall, in every movie theater, on every street corner?!

(no subject)

Date: 2017-04-30 03:11 pm (UTC)
peoriapeoriawhereart: very British officer in sweater (Brigader gets the job done)
From: [personal profile] peoriapeoriawhereart
Our world has a little of this. There are squad cars in America that have fresh teddy bears for child survivors and while it might be a touch essentialist there are 'smaller' officers that are trained to know when to slip into a cardigan to look less Officer Scary and keep kids from seeing things they need not to.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-02 02:49 am (UTC)
society_of_antisocialites: (Default)
From: [personal profile] society_of_antisocialites
Saving this, and the related posts. At some point I'm going to ask someone to sit down with me and record or transcribe while I read them aloud so I can bring those resources back home... Though I've already asked two people to remind me to look for resources there too. The place where I'm from is great at medical care, okayish for sexual health and LGBTQ stuff, but lacking in EFA despite people regularly getting into situations where they would need it. :/ I'm a medic there so it's reasonably possible that I can start filling in the gaps.

- Will S.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2017-05-02 07:55 am (UTC)
society_of_antisocialites: (Default)
From: [personal profile] society_of_antisocialites
>> I'm glad I could help. :D <<

\o/

>> Oh wow, I didn't even think of that because I don't podcast, but it would be really useful to have these things on audio. I'll ask if any of my readers are interested in doing that. <<

In this case it's because we can't share files from this world to the Grimms' realm and they aren't guaranteed to have duplicates in other worlds. Having somebody dictate from what they see here while another person transcribes in otherworld gets around that - kind of like having somebody write instructions by telephone.
I can see how podcasts would be useful for people on this side too. I hadn't thought about that either but they'd be very good for anyone who finds audio easier or more accessible than written word.

>> In professional settings, some useful terms might include: <<

Notes taken. :) Thank you.

- Will S.

(no subject)

Date: 2017-05-24 03:32 pm (UTC)
ookpik: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ookpik
Thank you for this otstanding post. I practice TIC and would like to share some of these resources with clients.

Also, I have some experience as a reader for audiobooks and have been told that my voice is clear and soothing. If there's any way I can be helpful with this, I would be happy to volunteer some tkme.

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ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
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