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Inland and Acadia Hospitals partner to offer Psychological First-Aid training

Date: 02/08/2024

Thomas College students are training to make a difference in their communities through a special, free course called Psychological First Aid (PFA). The training is free thanks to a federal mental health awareness grant that Northern Light Acadia Hospital received from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. Acadia is partnering with Northern Light Inland Hospital and others to offer the unique training to groups and students.

PFA is designed to help children, adolescents, adults, and families in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic experience such as a disaster or an act of terrorism. PFA is also proven to be effective when a young person is experiencing a mental health crisis at any time. Developed by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the National Center for PTSD, PFA teaches that those affected by trauma will experience a range of reactions so severe that initial support is critical to prevent a more serious condition from emerging later. 

During the educational class at Thomas on February 2, trainers Hanna Bouchard, Community Health coordinator for Northern Light Inland Hospital, and Joshua Wescoat, Community Health coordinator for Northern Light Acadia Hospital, explained PFA core elements, including engagement, safety, stabilization, connection to social supports, information on coping, and much more. They taught PFA skills for identifying and responding to those who have experienced trauma, strategies for connecting individuals to resources, and skills for self-care.  

IMG_1743.jpgMcKayla Alden, a forensic psychology and criminal justice major, stated, “I work as a Behavioral Health Professional/Daily Living Support worker. I want to take this training into my everyday work schedule since I have many kiddo clients who would benefit from me learning how to handle their big emotions. It's important to see the signs as they arise so we can continue to learn how to support our clients.”

Madyson Redding, also a forensic psychology and criminal justice major shared, “Working in residential treatment for teens, I thought this training would be a great learning experience for me. It’s a perfect opportunity for me to learn how to help others and make a positive impact.” 

IMG_1724.jpgIf you are interested in learning more about Psychological First Aid or scheduling a free training for your employees and organization, please contact Hanna Bouchard at Inland Hospital, 207.861.3392 or