University of Madras will host volunteering workshop

On Tuesday, the University of Madras will launch a three-day training programme on offering psychological first aid (PFA).

The programme is open to students of affiliated colleges.

The virtual event will be inaugurated by City Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi.

“The course is aimed at frontline or essential workers and volunteers dealing with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. You do not have to be a specialist to deliver PFA,” explained S. Thenmozhi, programme convener and head of the Department of Counselling Psychology. The programme will benefit healthcare and social-care staff, first responders, frontline public-sector staff, essential workers, volunteers, supervisors and managers.

The participants will be trained in the Johns Hopkins RAPID model, an acronym for rapport and reflective listening, assessment, prioritisation, intervention and disposition and follow-up. “PFA is designed to mitigate the effects of acute stress and trauma and assist those in crisis to cope effectively with adversity. Mental health practitioners and community workers can apply PFA in all settings,” Ms. Thenmozhi said. At the end of the programme, a trainee will be able to identify for whom PFA is needed and how to help them, how to better support oneself and peers in crises and engage with further reading into psychosocial support during emergencies.

Vaneeta Aggarwal, coordinator of the National Service Scheme at the university, said the programme got 1,200 registrations in the first day. But participants were capped at 350.

“We have tied up with the Greater Chennai Corporation to provide volunteers for tele-counselling. With entire families coming down with the infection, there should be somebody who can empathise with them and assure them of help. Basically, the volunteers’ job is to authenticate resources and pass on the numbers to the callers. We have tied up with Chennai Volunteers and our students will call each person to authenticate the phone numbers. We have developed a resource and we will share with them,” she said.

The University has 120 affiliated colleges in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu.

“We did offline programmes in January and February when our students visited malls and encouraged visitors to wear masks. Last week, we did a day-long workshop with MNREGA and the Higher Education Department in the Union Education Ministry,” Ms. Thenmozhi added.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 11:49:49 PM |

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