How to provide psychological first aid.

When providing psychological first aid, you should keep in mind three action principles: look, listen, link.

UNICEF Armenia
Երեխան ձեռքերը դրել է մոր այտերի վրա։
UNICEF Armenia/2019/Margaryan
15 April 2022

When providing psychological first aid (PFA), you should keep in mind three action principles: look, listen, link.


It is necessary to first assess dangers, as well as safety and security risks, and then obtain information about the event that is taking/took place and about those in need of assistance, their physical injuries, primary and basic needs, and their emotional responses.


1. Approach the person in need of help.

2. Introduce yourself.

3. Pay attention and listen actively.

4. Understand the other person's feelings.

5. Calm the person in crisis.

6. Ask about their needs and concerns.

7. Help the person in crisis with their immediate needs and try to solve their issue(s).


1. Make relevant information, services, and other sources of assistance available.

2. Help them connect or reunite with relatives.

3. Provide social assistance.

4. Actively try to help solve the issue(s).


Follow these rules when providing PFA. Knowing them will help to help the person in crisis properly, without harming them:

  1. Understand the situation before helping. Do not force your help.
  2. Respectfully ask simple questions to understand how you can help. 
  3. Establish communications with the person in crisis. The best way to initiate communication is to provide practical assistance (offer food, water, clothing, blankets).
  4. Be prepared: The person in crisis may avoid you, engage in aggressive behavior, or refuse your help.
  5. Respect people’s right to make decisions.
  6. Even if the person in crisis refuses your help when offered, show your willingness to help them in the future.
  7. Be patient, responsible, responsive, and sensitive.
  8. Speak calmly and plainly and with clear expressions. Provide accurate, relevant, and age-appropriate information.
  9. Take the person’s cultural background, gender, customs, and religion into consideration.
  10. Avoid assumptions, criticism, assessments, and promises.
  11. If the person in crisis wants to talk, be prepared to listen.
  12. It is not necessary to constantly talk with the person in crisis; often, just being physically present helps them feel more secure and confident.
  13. Keep all the information you receive from the person confidential.  Never share personal information.


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