Psychological first aid

Beginning the week of May 4 Caring Hearts hosted a free eight-week online program focused on Resiliency building and Self-Care to support our essential service employees and their families during this difficult time.
Thank you to the South Saskatchewan Community Foundation Emergency Response Fund for making this program available.

Resiliency and Self-Care Psychological First Aid
A Tool for Front-Line Essential Service Providers to Cope with Covid-19
A Caring Hearts Program Made Possible by the 
South Saskatchewan Community Foundation Emergency Response Fund

Presenter: Duane Bowers [biography]

Program Overview

Five Core Elements of Resiliency [PDF]

Health & Wellness Weekly Scorecard [PDF]






















Caring for Ourselves - Six Dimensions of Health [PDF]

Caring for Ourselves - Mission Statement [PDF]


Resiliency Building

Resiliency requires a level of self-knowledge, understanding and personal insight.  It requires us to gain a deeper knowledge of who we are and how we fit in the universe. Resilient people will learn about themselves and what circumstances or situations causes them stress and anxiety. If they are going into a situation that can cause them stress or anxiety they will take measures to prepare themselves in advance. Resilient people will take the time to search for their “personal” meaning and purpose in the world. They will identify their priorities in life, their core values [personal values] and their personal beliefs.  

Personal Beliefs [PDF]

Core Values [PDF]


Understanding Psychological First Aid (PFA) – Overview Body/ Brain

•    What is trauma?
•    How does trauma affect brain and body?
•    What do we do about it?






















Goal: To understand the impact trauma has on the way we think, feel and act.


Psychological First Aid – Finding Safety and Comfort
•    Be Active. 
•    Get information. 
•    Get connected.
•    Grief Reactions. 






















Goal: To enhance immediate and ongoing sense of safety, and provide physical and emotional comfort and support.

Stabilization – Dealing with stress.
•    Understanding Trauma and Its Impact [PDF]


If you are depressed you are living in the Past
If you are anxious you are living in the Future
If you are at Peace…you are living in the Present

-Lao Tzu
What is Mindfulness?  

Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing oneself into the present moment
and experiencing the present without judgement.
Mindfulness allows us to focus on and accept this moment for what it is;
being able to let go of the event that just happened as well as any expectations for what is coming next.

-Duane Bowers

•    Mindfulness [PDF]





Goal: To calm and orient survivors.















Coping – The Five Selves
•    The Creative Self
•    The Coping Self
•    The Social Self
•    The Essential Self
•    The Physical Self


Goal: To provide information about stress reactions and coping to promote adaptive functioning.


Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercise are one of the simplest and most successful ways of lower stress and reducing anxiety by relaxing the body and brain and bringing ourselves into the present moment.  The great thing about breathing exercise is that they are easy to learn and you can do them anywhere.
Please follow the link below to sample a very simple one minute breathing exercise called “Triangle Breathing”  Simply watch the video breathing in as the triangle expands and out as it decreases.  You can do this exercise for as long as you feel necessary. 










Hope is our response to the belief that future will be better than this moment.  Hope is one of the greatest antidotes to trauma. 
Hope is not just an emotional experience.  Hope is a physiological experience that creates a chemical reaction in our body.  When we are experiencing hope we release serotonin which shuts down the feelings of fear, anger.  In the moments we are truly feeling hopeful - it becomes physiologically and chemically impossible for us to feel fear, anger, anxiety.
We may not be able to fully control the future, but we CAN control how we choose to look at the future.  We CAN choose to look at the future with HOPE.
Please click on the document below to see how we can find HOPE

Finding and Supporting Hope [PDF]



Mirror Neurons
“Human beings need social interaction.  Research has discovered many of the benefits of social interaction: improved physical health, higher levels of resiliency, more energy, increased levels of hope and optimism, increased feelings of empathy, reassurance of self-worth, and feelings of belonging. (these are a few of the benefits).  The fact is humans are hardwired to interact.  The hardwiring is called Mirror Neurons.  Mirror Neurons are neurons that fire both when we do an act or observe the act being done by other.  They help us see the action or emotion and say ‘I know how that feels’ and then the Mirror Neuron helps us to feel that emotion so that we fit into the situation or group of people.  In short, when we are with a group of people we will ‘mirror’ feelings of the group to fit into the group.  Some research suggest that it is a survival mechanism for humans.”
“When we are in the midst of ongoing stressful or traumatic situation – like a pandemic [Covid-19} our Mirror Neurons continue to fire.  It is important to ask ourselves the question: are we mirroring the stress and anxiety of those around us? And if we are, what can we be doing to help lower that stress and anxiety? Are we checking our wellness regularly?”
Wellness Check-in [PDF]





















Social Supports
•    Emotional understanding and acceptance 
•    Sharing of experiences and concerns 
•    Normalization of reactions 
•    Mutual instruction about coping
•    Practical problem-solving

Goal: To help establish brief or ongoing contacts with primary support persons or other sources of support, including family members, friends, and community helping resources.










The Future – One of Hope or Fear?
•    Optimism 
•    Confidence 
•    Faith 
•    Positive 
•    Practical 

Goal: To help establish a sense of future based on hope, and build on lessons learned from this experience.