accessibility & help

British Red Cross expands psychosocial first aid with £5,000 from British Psychological Society

Press release
For immediate release  23 April 2009
For further information  Mark South
Contact number  020 7877 7042

The work of the British Red Cross to address the psychological needs of those caught up in emergencies has netted a £5,000 award from the country’s leading organisation for psychologists.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) has awarded the grant in recognition of British Red Cross work to provide, give training in and promote psychosocial support as an intrinsic aspect of first aid.

“We’re absolutely delighted at this recognition from an organisation as well respected as the BPS,” said Sarah Davidson, psychosocial advisor to the British Red Cross.

“First aid is more than bandages; research suggests that psychosocial support is key in providing effective help to those in crisis.  As well as helping people to cope, psychosocial support can reduce anxiety and pain, increase wound healing and promote overall recovery.”   

With the aim of increasing awareness of psychology amongst the public, the grant will be used by the Red Cross to promote psychosocial support as a vital part of first aid.

Psychosocial support, the need to attend to the emotional and practical, as well as physical, needs of those directly injured or otherwise affected by an emergency is included as part of all British Red Cross first aid training programmes.

It is also evident across a range of British Red Cross services, including in their deployment, in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, of psychosocial support teams to emergencies around the world – most recently to help British residents affected by the terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

“This grant from the BPS is great news as it will enable the Red Cross to continue to expand its psychosocial support work both in the UK and internationally, “ added Sarah.

Dr Liz Campbell President of the British Psychological Society said: “We are really pleased to award this grant to a project that will benefit so many people in traumatic situations.

“Last year the Society headed a ‘Psychological Aid for Victims of Terrorism’ project (funded by the European Commission) that culminated in a number of recommendations to the European Parliament, one of which was to provide psycho-social first aid to victims of terrorism.

“Our experience was that people who have been through a traumatic event want and need psychological aid, both in the immediate aftermath and in the longer term. It’s fantastic that the Red Cross is taking this forward and will make a real difference to people when they need it most.”

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.

We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.