Volunteer Perspective on Psychological First Aid

0 1 4 January 2021

This week's guest blog post is by Carlee Knight.

This past October, I had the opportunity to take Psychological First Aid, a Canadian Red Cross certified course offered by the Community Learning Network. This course had been on my mind for a while and I jumped at the chance to take it. After all, the present is always the right time for personal development. Having been reading a lot of short stories with my student lately, a quote from Leo Tolstoy’s “The Three Questions” came to mind: “there is only one time that is important – now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”

The Psychological First Aid class is a great course for gaining practical self-care skills, support-seeking skills, and learning how to become a better listener. Psychological First Aid helps people learn to assist in the lives of others from a thoughtful and educated position by developing empathy. The course also teaches its students how to assist others with experiences relating to any kind of crisis event, the potentially lingering trauma affecting them and their decisions, and their everyday stressors.


Who might be interested in taking this course? Anyone with a desire to better understand and empathize with others; anyone currently supporting someone emotionally and beyond; anyone working in a social services field; or really any field which has relationships with others at its core. This course would also provide valuable information to anyone in charge of the safety and security of others. I was interested in the class for personal reasons like wanting to better support my loved ones through their challenges, and develop healthy emotional habits for myself. I was also interested in this course as a means of developing some key skills on how to give better help in my community.

At a time when allowed activities and entertainment are limited, investing in self-development has been a positive use of my free time. As a volunteer literacy tutor, having free access to classes such as Psychological First Aid is a huge perk. I spent two days safely distanced and wearing a mask, but comfortably building connections and knowledge with others in the learning process. The class energy was pleasant, much wisdom was shared, and much hand-sanitizer was used!

Thanks to Corrie, Della, and their teams for making this possible.

Carlee Knight

Literacy Tutor at P.A.L.S. - Project Adult Literacy Society


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