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

19,203 ratings

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


May 22, 2020

I am very happy and satisfied with the course program. In fact, I am excited to apply what I have learned and also looking forward to enroll in another course. Thank you for this learning opportunity!


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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76 - 100 of 4,531 Reviews for Psychological First Aid

By Andrea A H

Jan 9, 2023

PFA RAPID as a form of Crisis Intervention is ESSENTIAL for everyone. I also took the course The Science of Well Being. The two courses help with the everyday and lifetime crisis prevention of self and others, and self care needed. You can only teach and use what you know, without these essential courses, we do our best but can create tension, stress, and potential consequences for ourselves and anyone who comes to us in need. I can see further learning after this course, thank you for providing additional resources. Social Support is something that should be obvious but how to access the resources and how to create a hierarchy of needs adds some reassurance about steps to take and words to say and not say. Social Media is a double edged sword so it's good to have more info that simply referring someone to a resource with 'good luck!' and now I know to follow up. Thank you for the clear instructions.

By Alison L

Feb 22, 2021

I found Dr. Everly to be a great teacher and I really looked forward to this course each week, even though it has the least to do with furthering my career out of the courses I'm working on currently. I had a degree in psychology, so I'm not exactly the intended audience, and I did know a fair amount of this information coming in, but I knew it in bits and pieces. It was a nice refresher (I earned my degree nearly a decade ago) and an opportunity to keep my psych skills alive, as well as learn about psychological triage. I wanted to take the course because I figured it would be useful if ever put in a situation of adversity myself or in being able to aid friends and family when they encounter adversity. I think this course will help me do that, and heaven forbid I should ever be near enough to a traumatic event that it would be helpful, I'd feel comfortable volunteering to help with PFA as necessary.

By Fatima L

May 25, 2021

The course is actually quite an excellent rudimentary introduction to PFA and the RAPID model. It may disappoint those seeking a much more detailed presentation of the stages in PFA ie reflective listening, assessment and prioritisation, etc. The course focused on the PFA practitioner's ability to establish a real connection with the survivor through a very basic primal understanding of compassion. This may be trivial or obvious for many, especially those with psychology backgrounds, but I cannot express enough how lacking this is amongst so many in the field. I have seen psychologists and psychiatrists tell me things such as "I wouldn't want to be in your shoes" and "I think you need some medication" while in extreme psychological crisis. It's incredible that what we call basic, rudimentary, is not that easy after all. I am very happy with this course and I am proud that I have completed it.

By Jayne G

Oct 8, 2020

Having worked 30 years in the airline industry, I assisted with a number of incidents. This course would have been so helpful to have. I recently retired as a Resource Manager, fostering relationships with many new generation & diversified workers. I also worked as a "Care Partner" with the company in assisting with any accidents or incidents, as well as with Employee Assistance representatives within the company and truly enjoy working with people. I have been able to work on my active listening skills, something that certainly did not come naturally! But it's been instrumental in allowing me to take a compassionate approach with colleagues, friends, co-workers and my kids! Thank you for allowing me to take this course. I have learned so much more! I will be recommending it! And hope to put it into practice in the days, weeks, years to come :-)

By Arvind G

Aug 23, 2020

I am too much fortunate to complete this wonderful course. It was a great opportunity to me to get enrolled in this PFA course. I enjoyed this course a lot. I learned so many tools and techniques from PFA which is very much important to handle our PTSD. After completing the PFA course I have got the confidence to help people in traumatic situations by using the Johns Hopkins RAPID. This course is very useful for me and my students. I can take 'Self Care' by this course. The course Mentor George Everly is outstanding. His subject knowledge and narration technique is amazing. Course videos and assignments are so simple to understand. Anybody can solve it easily. Thanks to George Everly and Johns Hopkins University for providing such a wonderful course. I am going to complete my next course under the guidance of George Everly.

George Everly

By Debbie N

Nov 15, 2022

I took this course to dig deeper into how to help each other in a world that is increasingly likely to have disasters and trauma. I have some experience with mental health related issues as a public high school teacher, as well as as an urban resident, and so this course helped me find language and steps to use when encountering human distress. I was happy to not be involved in any kind of diagnosis or treatment, but rather to be a compassionate listener and supportive presence to people. That I can do. I found Dr Everly to be a calm and clear teacher, and I also bought the recommended PFA book after the first lesson, so I could refer to it and pick up more details than an on-line course may provide. Thanks for offering this; I am looking at future opportunities to serve my community and this is a good tool to have on hand.

By Alan V H

Feb 24, 2021

The course was fast paced, efficient and thorough. The RAPID model is efficient and wastes not time in getting the student into "go-mode". This is an entry point to PFA and not the final word. The course book, 'The Johns Hopkins Guide to Psychological First Aid" is excellent and the student would do well to buy and read it BEFORE taking the course rather than afterward, as I did. I took two coursed from Dr. Everly 10 years ago and have two comments. First, the model, acronym and supporting materials are much improved but buy the course book and read his other articles and writings-many are on the internet. CLERGY-read his book, " Pastoral Crisis Intervention"! Second, learn the content but don't miss l Dr. Everly's voice and manner. These are equally important to the process of PFA.

By Alexandra K

May 8, 2020

I LOVED this course. I liked the fact that is was simple, the key concepts were well explained and I didn't get tired at all. One of my favorite parts of it was that, although the main theme is something so serious, Dr. Everly had such pleasant teaching methods. To be more precise, the "wrong" simulations at some point made me kind of giggle and I think that it's a very effective method and its main points will stick to my mind. Also he generally has a very good sense of humor that he showed at certain moments. Lastly I really liked that there were real interviews from people that experienced a disaster, so that we realise that although we're taking a theoritical course right now, these skills can be truly helpful and needed in a real situation at sme point in the future.

By Corina H

Jul 10, 2020

I really loved taking this course! This was my first time taking an online course, and I found that it was much better suited to my needs as a student than a traditional classroom setting. It was also very accessible for someone who hasn't been in school for over a decade. Dr. Everly's lectures were clear, concise, and relatable, and the progression of the course was very well paced. Concepts were outlined several times, but without feeling overly repetitive, and I found them easy to understand and retain without being too simplistic. I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone who's interested in learning ways to support others in the wake of a crisis, or even how to better care for their own mental health and overall well-being when dealing with stress.

By Emelie S

May 9, 2018

I thought this was a fantastic course! It was well organized, well presented, and appropriate for the target audience. The simulation videos presenting "how-to's" and "how-not-to's" were a great addition. I believe this course would be valuable for everyone, regardless of field or occupation, if they think they would like to be active in community response and support volunteer efforts during local disasters. It is even helpful on a personal level, as the skills introduced here, such as active listening, are valuable in all personal interactions. I am also glad the course ended on self-care, which is so important, especially in this context. I really enjoyed the course and believe it will be a valuable reserve of information for when I may need it in the future.

By Ilisha D

Apr 22, 2020

The course was incredibly informative as well as engaging. The nature of most of the topics covered is such that role-playing and an offline course would be most beneficial. Keeping this in mind I feel that the simulations used for the course were especially helpful as they were able to significantly reduce any gap or shortcomings due to the course being online. Having a background in psychology, I feel confident in putting the skills that I learned in this course to use. In my opinion, for someone without a background in this subject, the terms and concepts were quite well explained. An advanced course on this subject, perhaps with higher instructor/mentor interaction could be beneficial for those who want further clarifications or training. Thank you!

By Timothy K

Jun 13, 2020

I found this course while browsing the interwebs looking for things to learn. As far as an 8 hour online class goes, this is worth every minute. It moves fast, and has the meat and potatoes of what you need. (Or if you're not a fan of meat and potatoes analogy, the salad and the roasted tofu.)

Active listening, and psychological first aid, is not just a responsive practice. It should be part of your tactical toolkit. The fact that PFA can make as big as impact as it does means it gets people to where they can be with a little more ease. Think of the impact that can make on someone who is trying their best, and got one more step ahead because you were there to help.

Consider the class. Get the certificate if you can.

Thanks, Doctor Everly and Johns Hopkins!

By Rolando C d l R I

Jul 11, 2020

I would like to sincerely thank Dr. George Everly Jr. and John Hopkins University for giving me this opportunity to learn!

I did not realize that I am already giving PFA to my fellow citizens when I joined and volunteered at UP Diliman Psychological Services. I am able to help around 30 people between the months of April and June, and I am glad to have been affirmed through this course that what I was doing is okay. My key take away here is “the best way to care for others is to care for yourself” - this is so much true! I have to keep my weekends off, because even if it is just online counseling, having around 4-5 people talk to you about their concerns can be very exhausting.

Thank you once more! God bless you! Stay safe and healthy!

By Frank F

May 1, 2020

Excellent course, I liked the breakdown of how and why each of the steps work. I'm a CERT and have taken our PFA basic training, in-person class, and on-line class. This class was much more detailed. I've also taken the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) classes, which are similar and have overlap. I'd recommend that people take this class, the MHFA, and whatever PFA training you can find through your organization. Why all three? Because they overlap, yet each covers something unique. My only gripe is that the links didn't work right in coursera, I kept getting lost - some times, the video would be just blank (so I read the transcript below). I'm using Firefox on a Windows PC, maybe this works different in different browsers.

By Joshua A W

May 11, 2020

This course provides detailed explanation about R.A.P.I.D. in Psychological First Aid (PFA). How do we do this step by step and to whom should we help during crisis/adversity/disaster.

It's very important to me to take care and help ourselves first before helping others so that we won't become the victim. Prof. George Everly beautifully simulate the scenarios which one should we avoid and which one should we do.

I'm a veterinarian currently living in Indonesia and i'm very grateful for taking this course. I've been participating in Global Health True Leaders and the theme was "Disaster Management". Participating in this course further increase my capabilities in responding the adversity as a veterinarian and as a citizen.

By Dannica A F S

Sep 13, 2020

This is a course that everyone needs to learn - it is a life skill. Psychological First Aid model by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health is taught in a compassionate and supportive manner by Dr. Everly. The course is well-paced and comprehensive. In our pandemic-stricken world of today, trauma and injuries go beyond the physical which we are all vulnerable to. Relearning this critical skill is more important than ever, everyone is undergoing stress and a sense of unhinging - PFA greatly helps us cope effectively. The same way that we perform first aid at the onset of a physical emergency, PFA is applied to feel what other people feels by active listening and cultivating resilient communities built upon hope.

By Sophie A K

Jun 29, 2020

Kept my mind occupied during Covid-19! This course includes very relevant and insightful content - and is taught by someone with a lot of experience and knowledge in the field!

A lot of the things discussed stick in my mind. Dr. Everly talked about the thought-provoking that link he can say he found after visiting many different countries: the link between resilience and having a belief that there is something out there greater than themselves. It got me thinking about the people in my own life and also about the power of religion within PFA.

Thank you for this opportunity! Thoroughly enjoyed the course. I really liked both the lectures and demonstration videos - everything was all very clear and concise!

By Sneha D

May 30, 2020

I always have believed in the idea that different people have different experiences due to different reasons and different situations. Everybodys way of understanding things and way of giving meaning to things is very subjective. No two people are the same.

We might think we know what someone's feeling or what they mean when they say they're depressed or they're anxious or anything but in reality, we don't because the words such as these have very subjective meanings. What it feels like to be depressed for me might be very different from your idea of it. This course just validated this idea for me and taught me so much more than just that. Honestly, this has been such an amazing enriching experience.

By Yuki H

Apr 30, 2020

Thank you very much for this very useful and meaningful course. I have learned a lot from this course and I am more confident after taking this course. I am very glad that this course taught me how to use the psychological first aid to approach people who are in need of help in acute distress situations. Other than that, I can also apply the knowledge that I have gained from this course as a way to keep myself on track when I encounter such situations. This is a course that not only teaches us how to use psychological first aid to help those in need, but also serves as a way to boost our own resilience as we learn. I feel stronger, and more confidence after taking this course, thank you.

By Rashidul K K

Jun 22, 2020

This is the very first course I have taken on Coursera and I am so happy that I did. Coming from an Marine Engineering background I must say it was completely new field for me. Dr. George Everly's lecture has been simply amazing and I enjoyed watching his lecture thoroughly. His explanations and the way he organised the slides made grasping the idea easy and that kept me motivated. I am sad the course ended but I am optimistic that I can apply what I have learnt in my life, be it work or personal. I will definitely gonna read up on the book recommended by Dr George Everly. I strongly recommend this course from Johns Hopkins, if you are interested in Psychology, you will not regret it.

By Surya P

May 1, 2020

There is nothing small that can be said about this journey. From the very beginning, Dr. Everly took me on a captivating journey through the areas of RAPID, the dissection, and usage of a single video filled with subtleties - sometimes taken for granted when watching in a hurry. This changes many things - the way I look at cues present in any situation between relationships [after all, it is common that we encounter our battles of survival, in routine]; a keen sense of delayed gratification and patience so as to understand perspectives around; and most importantly, a motivating incentive on periodic check on mental health.

Thank you, Team JHU! Cheers to everyone who made this possible!

By Clio

Jul 20, 2020

At first, I found it hard to follow, as this was in very proper English, but this worth so much to keep going! The professor is so passionate and genuine. I've enriched my English vocabulary (although this wasn't the purpose of the course) and more importantly, I've learned the R.A.P.I.D. Model and feel more confident to help my colleagues when our office re-open and be more emphatic. I am not sure I would do this as a job, but as an office manager, as my colleagues are my client, it will help definitely understand some root causes that I could face due to the uncertainty of this present COVID situation. Thanks so much to provide such a training, and huge thanks to the professor.

By Kristine R C

Jun 11, 2020

This course has been very informative and helpful for helping professionals and for those who have the heart to extend social support and care for victims of adversities and even front liners. I salute Dr. George Everly, our very gentle and dynamic instructor, for sharing his expertise and passion, making sure that we learn things by heart. The modules, materials and instructor are very engaging, making me excited to progress the course and apply what I've learned. Congratulations and thank you to Johns Hopkins University for your commitment to providing quality education for all, anytime, and anywhere around the globe. God bless you! All smiles from the Philippines! :)

By ZhangYing

May 29, 2017

Thanks so much for offering this fabulous course. Maybe I am not gonna be a disaster worker in the future. I find this course quite practical. It helps me understand a lot of things about people in my everyday life. Some of the part can even be used for daily communication. I really love the way Dr Everly deliver the lectures. With simple, yet profound words. Sometimes I am even nearly moved into tears, feeling that someone has understood and spoken out the words that I always longed for. The simulation videos are also really handy in helping us understand the RAPID model.

Thanks again for your great effort here. I will definitely recommend this course to my friends.

By Dexter T

Dec 26, 2022

I completed the Psychological First Aid Course today! Dr. George S. Everly, Jr., PhD, ABPP, FAPA, FACLP provides a straightforward research-based method for assisting people in distress. The course requires no prior psychology training because it is not intended to serve as a replacement for psychological therapy. Dr. Everly explains that it is simply the first point on the continuum of care.

I highly recommend this course! I learned that sometimes when we seek to solve a person’s problems, we make it harder for them to recover. Some people only need a person to provide a supportive and compassionate presence, and they will work through the recovery on their own.