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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Psychological First Aid by Johns Hopkins University

15,478 ratings
3,846 reviews

About the Course

Learn to provide psychological first aid to people in an emergency by employing the RAPID model: Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition. Utilizing the RAPID model (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. 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. Participants will increase their abilities to: - Discuss key concepts related to PFA - Listen reflectively - Differentiate benign, non-incapacitating psychological/ behavioral crisis reactions from more severe, potentially incapacitating, crisis reactions - Prioritize (triage) psychological/ behavioral crisis reactions - Mitigate acute distress and dysfunction, as appropriate - Recognize when to facilitate access to further mental health support - Practice self-care Developed in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Open Education Lab....

Top reviews

Apr 15, 2020

A wonderful course with clear explanations and case scenarios to help reinforce learning. I was truly engaged throughout the course and felt like I learned a lot more than I anticipated when going in.

Dec 19, 2019

Great structure and interactive format. Clear expectations and excellent materials. Subject was explained in an effective manner that was easily understood and applied. Very useful for any profession!

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26 - 50 of 3,817 Reviews for Psychological First Aid

By Leslie

Sep 16, 2017

What a fantastic and informative course. I found the role play most effective, it was very helpful watching George respond to an individual experiencing crisis. The only suggestion I would make is perhaps having a more challenging, less resilient role than Gina. As admirable as her optimism and relative ease at finding a home (with her Aunt), it would be interesting to see the same process played out with someone who might not be as resilient as Gina or have access to family support. Dr. Everly was truly wonderful, although I have not experienced a trauma such as many displaced people have, I knew if I did, I would want someone like George around - what a compassionate and caring person. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to learn from you. Leslie

By Pui M C

Apr 12, 2020

The references to videos for the mistakes I made during the quiz were totally wrong. I understand they are beta-tested, but they misled, that's the point. And the guidance in getting the right responses to the quizzes is absent. I wonder if which is the bigger problem - the interface of the course, or that some quiz items are just unclear and ambiguous?

By Aditya S

May 26, 2020

Awesome course!

The modules per week are designed really well and are very easy to understand.

The thing I liked the most about this course was the 2 ways (the correct and the incorrect way) situations can be tackled with.

Overall the mentor was awesome and explained everything the best way possible!🔥

By Brenda S

Apr 14, 2020

Well done. George is a natural story teller. He helped make the lessons personal and relatable. The examples were well acted. I believe this lesson will help me with situations I may likely part of in the near future.

By AlexTarriba V

Mar 26, 2019

I enjoyed the course! Specially the videos. It made it much easier to understand how a conversation can go and how to handle it.

By Maxine M N

Oct 27, 2016

This was a good course filled with great information and various techniques I think are useful in everyday life as well as in disasters. I do feel like the concepts could have been explained better and I would have liked more elaboration on certain things that are in the assessments. I struggled quite a bit in the assessments, especially with questions regarding the simulations with Gina. I felt like I had a good understanding of what was being taught until did my assessments and received a low grade. I personally would prefer if things were slightly more spelled out for us so that there is less to intuit. I also prefer reading the transcripts along with watching the videos as I learn better that way, but I don't feel like the transcripts for this course were written well or had good grammatical structure. I often had to go over things many times, or refer again to the video, to understand certain points. For example, I feel that in transcripts it's unnecessary to always directly quote each and every word being said by the speaker like the following, "...and, and, you know, this is, this is something very important..." but rather typing "...and you know, this is something very important..." would make as much sense and be easier to read and digest.


Aug 21, 2020

This course really helps understanding a lot of topics related to psychology, and mostly, know how to act and help other people that are in distress following a disaster or emergency. Professor George Everly knows how to make a class really interesting. The course is very well done: the materials, the classes and even the way everything is structured. Thanks for everything learned!

By Anna H

Apr 13, 2020

Very well-prepared, easy to understand course on psychological first aid. With the set of skills gained in this course, you will not only be able to adequately help someone in times of disaster as a psychological first aider but also in day-to-day interactions, whether at work or in school.

Think of applying bandages to psychological injuries, effectively.

By Grace C

Jun 5, 2020

This course was wonderful, enjoyable, and helpful in my learning and development of skills. The load of work per week was reasonable, and the material engaging and applicable. Thank you, Dr. Everly!

By Hannah G

May 7, 2020

Very informative with a platform that made learning easy and enjoyable. I would definitely suggest this course if this subject interests you. Can also be completed within 2 days of constant work.

By Conor M

Jun 11, 2019

Fantastic course! It really provided the foundation to understanding PFA and it's application in helping people who are in disequilibrium following a stressful/traumatic event.

By Aeryll K C

May 26, 2020

Absolutely educational and fulfilling!

By Gordon R S

Oct 10, 2020

Excellent course -- except for the tests. Although I passed all courses on the first try (I do have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology), there were questions on the first test that asked us to regurgitate unimportant statistics from a meta-analysis mentioned in passing. Other questions on other tests expect us to have magically absorbed material that was never presented in any lectures or simulations. (For example, on the last test we were expected to know that chronic fatigue is a symptom of burnout, even though it is not among the nine symptoms of burnout listed in the lecture.) The professor has obviously not looked at the tests in a very long time, nor has he proof-read the "transcripts" of his lectures (where, for example, we read the word "queues" when what he said was "cues," among numerous other mistakes). Overall, the tests do a poor job evaluating whether or not the learner has grasped the key concepts and procedures that are the most important parts of the course. There are too many "GOTCHA!" questions, apparently dreamed up by some sadistic graduate student, designed less to assess than to confuse. As such, the tests could very easily "gaslight" the learner into believing that she or he has not learned these concepts and procedures, the very ones the professor intends for the learner to absorb, when in fact the learner HAS absorbed them! The fact that the course, according to the professor, is designed for firefighters and police officers and others without any background in mental health, only increases the probability of this "gaslighting" effect. These four tests are, to put it kindly, sub-optimal.

By Helene B - R

Jun 3, 2020

Very, very good course. The teacher did a marvelous job with this course, the understanding behind it, and the wrong and right way to address a situation with excellent examples of how saying certain things can have a bad outcome. Only thing I think would have made it better, or more interesting would be more student-to-student assignments, and some peer discussion with personal examples. But I am really glad I took this.

By Elliott J

Apr 7, 2020

Pros: Great content taught by a well-educated professor. Demonstration videos were done well. Good for active learners to introduce them to topics they can research further.

Cons: The visuals could use work. The majority of the vital information is presented as a slideshow with uniform text. I also found some of the quiz questions a little verbose and/or unclear.

By Katelynn C

May 6, 2020

A lot of the lectures felt repetitive; the ability to skip half of the lecture material and still receive a perfect score on the assessments is concerning, because I would prefer that time spent learning NOT be spent listening to constant repeated information.

By Alvin K

Apr 18, 2020

The course was ok. It was a bit esoteric rather than providing practical based information and this was reflected in the evaluation techniques of the quizzes.

By Jared E

May 10, 2018

It kind of sums up to "Don't be a jerk. This is how you don't be a jerk."

By Yuka N

May 30, 2020

Many disasters hit marginalized groups disproportionately yet the course didn’t take any sort of diversity, equity, inclusion elements into consideration (self awareness of the first responder and their privilege, etc.)

By norah m s

Apr 29, 2020

I found the instructor very condescending. The quiz questions were sometimes odd.

By Emily W

Apr 13, 2020

Dry, outdated.


Apr 18, 2020

Very superficial course

By Veronika H

Jul 26, 2020

A great introduction to the concept of RAPID, or may I say RAPID(S):

Building rapport with the person you're trying to help, assessing the needs, prioritizing the needs, intervening to stabilize or mitigate distress, checking how they are doing / following up, and lastly, there's a lesson on self-help so that you can help people long-term and not e.g. burn out.

All of these steps of RAPID(s) are explained in more detail in the course. There's also a simulation video of what the process can look like, which accompanies the whole course and ties it together nicely. There's also videos of how not to do it. I found the quality of the videos/acting to be almost perfect, and certainly excellent! :-)

I can not praise the instructor enough, his long experience in the field has certainly honed his social skills, like compassion and connecting with other people. That comes through in the lectures and intro videos as well as the simulation. It's a helpful to have someone to look at and think: "This is how I could also be one day, this I could strive for."

Content-wise, the lectures are to-the-point and not too long, sometimes I would have liked more detail but mostly they were just right for me.

The tests are brief and aim at you understanding the core concepts and knowing some relevant data. The questions can be quite specific, so you need to pay attention to details throughout the course, however, it is only details actually relevant to the topic that you need to know.

I got a sense that this course was compiled in a thoughtful and "heartful" way. Some minor room for small improvements aside here and there, overall, I found it a course of an outstanding quality content-wise, and of significant helpfulness for me, who was wholly new to the topic.

I'm glad I took the course, as it was the right decision for me, and I feel significantly better equipped than before to help others. I now have a solid basic understanding and a useful overview of Psychological First Aid. In order to feel confident about my abilities in this area, I'd have to practize the things talked about, though, which an online course of course can't do. Which is to say, as far as the course goes and can go, five well-earned stars!

By Anu L

Jul 12, 2020

I am from Kerala, India. In my country, psychological first aid [PFA] is just a fancy term. On the wake of disasters like megafloods, earthquakes and other natural and man-made calamities, financial and medical aid is provided by the state and central governments. Usually, there is no acknowledgement of the 'surge' that happens after a disaster. I have understood it from personal experience during the megafloods in Kerala in 2018. Although I was not a direct victim of the floods, I tried to contribute to the displaced and the disaster-stricken demographic. This experience gave me the insights that PFA is non-existent in these contexts, here. The medical team at a disaster spot would ideally treat the physical ailments of the people, the officials would mitigate the financial losses of the people, there is no reference or acknowledgement of the psychological trauma an individual undergoes during these calamities. There is no one-on-one care to the individual who undergoes the ordeal. I wrote a book titled LIFE AFTER THE FLOODS: REFLECTIONS ON KERALA FLOODS, which was published in 2019 by Kalamos Literary Services in Delhi highlighting these issues and the necessity to provide a mental support system to the victims of calamities.

The PFA course run by Johns Hopkins University is a boon to people from my place, for health workers, first responders and others. I found it as an answer to the many questions I raised in my book Life After the Floods. I am especially in love with the lectures given by Prof. Geroge Everly. His compassionate eyes have the power to teach us how to help others and to help ourselves.

This course offered me a highly valuable tool to deal with individuals who are facing psychological challenges during a disaster. This gave me the confidence to be a first responder in the wake of a calamity.

Thank you JHU and Coursera for arranging this masterful course for us!.

with love,

Anu Lal

By Dawei L

Jun 28, 2020

As a teacher, I accidentally signed up for this after I googled inclusion for education and special education. When saw what Dr. Everly was presenting, I immediately grimaced. But, I re-framed my thinking. God willing I would have to go through a disaster like Parkland or any other traumatic experience, and I hope I never would have to use the skills learnt from this course in any setting. However, in dealing with teens, a lot of situations may seem distressing. Although trivial to adults, a lot of problems to teens are magnified. So it is important not just for PFA but also anyone who works with people to go through phases of RAPID especially reflective listening and not offer responses designed to quickly solve the problem. In addition, it is also important to recognize we need to "self-care". I have met educators who take on the burden of students' personal issues too seriously and enter into unhealthy living habits. It is important to care for people, but establish boundaries. In addition, it is also important to get an assessment and not steer students(I have met teachers who have tried to steer students to talk about issues which were personal and incredibly traumatic without knowing how to be a facilitator of being part of a 'next level' of help. ) into answering questions which may open the proverbial Pandora's Box. This was overall a good course and it is not only for one profession. It permits help and compassion without crossing boundaries which can exacerbate situations.