Sixty-two Senior Public Officers have received first-level training in Psychological First Aid as an essential learning course through the Department of Human Resources’ Essential Learning and Develoment Programme (ELDP).
According to government, the two-part psychological training sessions was an essential learning session geared towards Senior Managers, Heads of Departments and their deputies, Human Resources Managers and Unit Team Leads, and was designed to ensure they possess the relevant knowledge and skills needed to respond to events of crisis affecting the workplace and the Public Service.
Deputy Governor, Mr. David D. Archer, Jr. said given the challenges that are being experienced on a global front, it is imperative that senior managers are equipped with the tools to assist their members of staff during times of crisis.
Mr. Archer, Jr said, “I have personally witnessed the emotional and psychological impact a disaster or pandemic can create in the lives of public officers. If I was unsure before, I am absolutely clear about learning how to cope personally and leading during and after a crisis – this is a skill we all must possess.”
The Deputy Governor added, “Our human resources play an integral part in the provision of government services and as we continue our efforts to transform our Public Service, we must consider the mental wellbeing of our Officers so they know they have adequate support during difficult times. The training provided an opportunity, not only for their knowledge and coping ability, but also to put leaders in the best position to help those they lead.”
Counselor for the Employee Assistance Programme, Dr. Albert Thompkins said he understood the challenges that Public Officers may be going through as the EAP Counselor.
“Now, more than ever, our Officers need to know that they have the support of their managers and that they have tried their utmost to provide them with the tools needed to counsel and support them not only in this period, but in other times of crisis,” Dr. Thompkins stated.
The training session was hosted on September 21 and 22 and facilitated by the Employee Assistance Programme Counselor, Dr. Albert Thompkins and Psychiatrist for the BVI Health Services Authority.
The leaders are now expected to understand what crisis events are and how they affect people; define Psychological First Aid and how it is applied using strategies and guidance to responsibly assist and support employees following a crisis event.
Psychological First Aid is an initial disaster response intervention to promote safety, stabilise survivors of disasters (physical or otherwise), and connect individuals to valued support systems and resources. Following the 2017 hurricanes and the present impact of COVID
-19, management teams must be equipped with the skills necessary to help safeguard their wellbeing and that of Public Officers before, during and following crisis events.