PSYCHOLOGICAL FIRST AID IN KINGSTON, JAMAICA

07/03/2018 – Global collaboration between Fight for Peace and partner organisation Fight with Insight has seen the staging of a Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course in Kingston, Jamaica. The course forms part of Fight for Peace’s Safer Communities Programme and was aimed at community leaders, volunteers, sports coaches, psychologists and social workers who work with young people in six Fight for Peace target communities in the Jamaican capital.

The course was delivered by Fight with Insight Founder Luke Lamprecht, drawing on over 25 years experience in child protection and specialist expertise in PFA in Johannesburg, South Africa. Knowledge sharing of this kind, between communities and groups facing similar challenges, represents a key feature of Fight for Peace’s global network which links together over 160 organisations from 26 countries.

Psychological First Aid provides a framework for trained adults to interact with young people in their care and can be used at home as well as in schools and community centres. The most important element of PFA is to provide a caring, comforting presence, from a simple greeting as the child walks in the door to how sports sessions are conducted. It supports young people to take a step back and step away from violent situations as course leader Luke Lamprecht explained:

“Everything [young people are] getting is about being on their guard instead of taking a step back and thinking about themselves. Being permanently in a fight or flight state always brings you back to the moment and if you’ve been traumatised then you’re in that permanent over-stressed state. So, this is about giving them the ability to be still, to reflect, and have an appropriate response versus constantly reacting.”

The Fight for Peace Safer Communities Programme operates in Jamaica and South Africa and uses collective impact methodology to integrate multiple services and actors in urban violence hotspots where capacity and resources are scarce. Via a local team on the ground, Fight for Peace acts as a backbone organisation working in partnership with government, international agencies, donors, the private sector, and community based actors, offering training and capacity building, facilitating communication and helping to scale initiatives.

The Safer Communities Programme, Jamaica now turns its attention to facilitating an ongoing series of activities using PFA to be delivered across the six communities in which it works. These activities will include continued training of community representatives in responding to young people who exhibit signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, transforming green spaces and branding spaces used by children and young people with positive, resilience-building messages.