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Johns Hopkins is Offering Free Online Course in Psychological First Aid

As the world becomes more and more attentive to the importance of mental health, researchers are offering up an invaluable resource on how to give “psychological first aid” to a distressed person—and it is available for free.

Johns Hopkins University is responsible for publishing a free online college course for conducting “Psychological First Aid” on people with depression, anxiety, or emotional distress. Since it was released to the public on Coursera, thousands of people from around the world have completed the course with more than 200,000 students currently enrolled. Not only that, it has become one of the most popular classes offered on Coursera.

The class is taught by pioneering psychological expert Dr. George S. Everly, co-author of the book The John Hopkins Guide to Psychological First Aid and co-founder of the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

The class, which is divided into a number of 30-minute and 2-hour lessons over the course of 5 weeks, covers everything from reflective listening to prioritizing and responding to life-threatening mental health situations.

More specifically, the course covers Dr. Everly’s RAPID psychological response model, which stands for “Reflective Listening”, “Assessment of Needs, “Prioritization”, “Intervention”, and “Disposition”.

“This specialized course provides perspectives on injuries and trauma that are beyond those physical in nature,” reads the course description. “The RAPID model is readily applicable to public health settings, the workplace, the military, faith-based organizations, mass disaster venues, and even the demands of more commonplace critical events, e.g., dealing with the psychological aftermath of accidents, robberies, suicide, homicide, or community violence. In addition, the RAPID model has been found effective in promoting personal and community resilience.”