Tessier M, Lamothe J, Geoffrion S. (2022). Psychological First Aid Intervention after Exposure to a Traumatic Event at Work among Emergency Medical Services Workers. Annals of Work Exposures and Health, 66(7), 946-959.
Psychological First Aid (PFA) is a promising early intervention for managing mental health symptoms and providing psychosocial support after exposure to a traumatic event (TE) among high-risk organizations such as Emergency Medical Service (EMS). However, recipients’ experience with PFA remains understudied. This study aimed to explore the perception of EMS workers (n = 13) who received PFA administered by a peer helper using a qualitative inductive approach. Findings from a thematic analysis indicated that the PFA intervention addresses EMS workers’ immediate needs in congruence with Hobfoll’s five essential principles to enhance coping and recovery after a TE. Specific components of the intervention, such as its time-sensitive nature and the closeness with peers, were especially appreciated by EMS workers. The PFA intervention appeared to have a beneficial impact on recipients, regarding the reduction of stigma, the increase of help-seeking behaviors, and the decrease of organizational difficulties. In conclusion, the PFA intervention offered by peer helpers is appreciated by recipients and is a beneficial first step toward supporting EMS workers in the aftermath of workplace trauma. These qualitative findings contribute to the current literature by informing further research about PFA intervention in other high-risk organizations and quantitative studies aiming to test PFA’s efficacy in such settings.