The Waynesburg University counseling program will partner with the American Red Cross Thursday, April 25, to host a disaster mental health training session. The event will run from 6:30 to 10 p.m.at the Waynesburg University Southpointe Center.
According to Dr. Scott Tracy, Director of Graduate Programs in Counseling, specialists from the American Red Cross will train 65 first and second year counseling students in Psychological First Aid (PFA) techniques as part of the University’s Counseling Trauma Survivors course.
“PFA is the first step in helping victims recover from a disaster situation,” said Tracy. “We are really fortunate that the American Red Cross has agreed to sponsor training here at Waynesburg. With recent events in Boston, Mass., and West, Texas, we are reminded that disaster can strike anywhere and at any time.”
PFA is a process that helps victims begin the coping process and is usually initiated within 24 hours of a disaster. The process involves helping individuals express the many conflicting emotions associated with a disaster and offers a mechanism for support and resource identification that helps to reduce the risk of further psychological trauma.
Participants will be certified in Psychological First Aid and will be registered in the American Red Cross database. Those registered will be able to offer initial counseling services during a disaster situation.
Dr. Mark Lepore, a nationally recognized disaster mental specialist, will be the primary trainer. He has responded to a number of large scale disaster events for the American Red Cross, namely, the events of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, super storm Sandy and the California wild fires.
“Our students will have the added benefit of hearing one of the Red Cross’s leading experts in Disaster Mental Health,” said Tracy. “We want our counseling students to be prepared when the aid for assistance is made.”
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