Psychological first aid training: A resource for our communities

Are you ok today?

It’s a warm summer morning in August as the sun rises over the lake at Camp Jordan in Ellsworth. Campers and counselors are there for Leaders School, about to begin their day with a quick swim in the lake. While memories of summer camp can be some of the best for kids and camp counselors, it’s important to be prepared if a child needs extra support. Children are facing an increasing amount of stress and emotional challenges and being prepared with psychological first aid (PFA) training is one way we’re helping community organizations in our region prepare to provide support. Thanks to a grant, Northern Light Acadia Hospital is providing a four-hour training to community partners including hospitals, camp counselors, and local schools.

Jennifer Laferte-Carlson, community health manager, Northern Light Acadia Hospital and several others from her team offer the training at no cost to organizations and leaders. “This training allows there to be a bridge to keep people safe until they can be connected with resources,” says Jennifer. “Training includes providing skills to identify and respond to those who have experienced trauma, being able to connect those individuals to resources and provide them with skills for self-care.”

Among the counselors to receive training at Camp Jordan in Ellsworth was Blair Hudson, the arts and culture director at the camp. In her seventh year as a camp counselor, the training has allowed Blair to be more proactive in identifying early signs of emotional distress in campers. The newfound skills help her create a safer and more supportive environment for the kids and teens under her care.

“I had never had any type of training in mental health or psychological first aid, so this was a great addition to my skill set,” says Blair. “I came out of the training with a lot more confidence to handle certain situations on my own, and I’ve been able to use it on a couple occasions over the course of the summer, specifically with children having panic attacks or experiencing other signs of trauma.”

Northern Light Acadia Hospital is looking to provide PFA training to 2,520 people by September of 2026. “The statistics on kids with depression, anxiety, etc. are scary. Now more than ever, this training is essential for members of our communities to be equipped with the skills to recognize and address emotional distress,” adds Jennifer.

In a time of crisis, PFA training empowers community members to feel confident and capable in supporting others emotional wellbeing. It plays a significant role in reducing the stigma around seeking mental health support and enabling early intervention.

For more information about psychological first aid training call 944.5135 or email