A5 Emotional First Aid


Ask a ten-year-old what you should do if you catch a cold, and the child would immediately recommend getting into bed and drinking a cup of soup. We teach our children how to take care of their bodies from a very young ago and they usually learn such lessons well. But ask an adult what you should do to ease the sharp pain of rejection, the devastating ache of loneliness, or the bitter disappointment of failure and the person would know little about how to treat these common psychological injuries. Ask how you might deal with intrusive ruminations or nagging guilt and you are likely to be met with sheepish looks, feet shuffling, and a pointed effort to change the subject.

The reason we take little to no purposeful action to treat the psychological wounds we sustain in daily life is because we lack the tools with which to manage such experiences. Applying emotional first aid to such injuries can protect many of them from affecting our mental health and emotional wellbeing. Learning the tools for emotional first aid will help support your overall wellness and give you a fresh approach to supporting your mental health. The idea of learning basic emotional first aid and helping to stop many mental health crisis events from occurring helps to transform and reimagine the way we think about wellness (TRACK). Learning and using skills to support our mental and emotional wellbeing, not just when you are in crisis, but using them for common psychological injury to keep them from becoming worse.


Sara Paulsen Sara is the executive director and founder of Kaleidoscope Speakers Bureau which is a peer run program that educates high school and college students about mental health by sharing lived experiences. She has been public speaking for three mental health speaker bureaus in Maine over the past decade. Sara published a memoir about her experiences living with schizoaffective disorder titled Follow Next to Me and has sold over 6,000 copies. Sara has been offering her services to new speakers as a speaking consultant for many different agencies. She currently serves on the Steering Committee and is the Administrator for Voices of Recovery, is a long time member of the Maine Behavioral Health Services Advisory Committee, and Center of Excellence Advisory Committee. Sara graduated summa cum laude from Whitman College with a B.A. in Psychology and Studio Art. She also has her M.S. from St. Scholastica University in Health Information Management. Sara is hard to miss because she always travels with her service dog Liam who is a 6.5 pound chihuahua.