The myth of the 1-day training: the effectiveness of psychosocial support capacity-building during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

Psychological First Aid trainings are too short to be effective for most people without knowledge about psychological support is one of the conclusions of the extensive scientific research carried out by WarTrauma in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In the aftermath of the ebola epidemic in Western Africa WarTrauma conducted the research together with Queen Margaret University (UK), University of Makeni (Sierra Leone) and LiCORMH (Liberia). The results have now been published in the open access journal Global Mental Health.

Codeveloped by WarTrauma, Psychological First Aid is a method which is used in conflict and disaster settings worldwide. The methodology aims to be an easy accessible training for non-professionals to provide access to psychological aid to as many people as possible. During the ebola epidemic in West Africa trainings in Psychological First Aid were given to medical personnel and local aid workers put their own lives at risk by taking care of ill and dead people.

In a randomised control trial in Sierra Leone and Liberia we conducted semi-structured interviews with 24 PFA trainers; 36 individuals who participated in PFA training; and 12 key informants involved in planning and implementing the PFA roll-out. Results showed that most trainers received only a short training, without any information on training skills. As a result their trainings were of varying quality. People who had been trained by them in general were good listeners, but their responses varied and were not according to the principles of effective psychological aid.

The abstract and the complete article you can read here: The myth of the 1-day training: the effectiveness of psychosocial support capacity-building during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa

The research project was funded by Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) Programme, which aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises. The R2HC programme is funded by the UK Government (DFID), the Wellcome Trust, and the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).