People often experience strong and unpleasant emotional and physical responses to disasters. Reactions may include combinations of confusion, fear, hopelessness, helplessness, sleeplessness, physical pain, anxiety, anger, grief, shock, aggressiveness, mistrustfulness, guilt, shame, shaken religious faith, and loss of confidence in self or others. There is consensus among international disaster experts and researchers that psychological first aid can help alleviate painful emotions and reduce further harm from initial reactions to disasters.
Your actions and interactions with others can help provide psychosocial first aid to people in distress. Psychological first aid creates and sustains an environment of (1) safety, (2) calming, (3) connectedness to others, (4) self efficacy—or empowerment, and (5) hopefulness.