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A First Responder Changes the Conversation about Mental Health

By Jared Apperson on 5/25/17 1:17 PM

Editor’s note: Jared Apperson is a longtime NOLS Wilderness Medicine instructor and former flight paramedic. Here, he talks about the psychological challenges of working in emergency medicine and his mission to raise awareness of post traumatic stress for first responders.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid

The 5 Components of Psychological First Aid

By Laura McGladrey on 5/22/17 8:17 AM

Editor’s note: Adapted from the Spring 2017 issue of The Leader under the title “Psychological First Aid Toolkit—What’s in Yours?”

The common image of a first responder is someone with a snappy set of gloves smoothly bandaging a spurting wound or administering an EpiPen to a patient having an anaphylactic reaction. Injuries, we imagine, are easy to see and easy to fix.

While treating physical wounds seems like the most important way a first responder can help a patient, there’s a lot that we can do to care for a patient’s mental health, especially during and right after a traumatic event.

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Topics: first aid, wilderness medicine, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid

Case Study: Anxiety or Cardiac Episode?

By Tod Schimelpfenig on 7/10/15 3:39 AM
Preparing to rappel. Photo by Jared Steinman.
 

The Setting

You're leading a team building day for a group of business people. Today's plan includes rappelling practice.

One participant, fearing the heights and exposure, is reluctant to participate. It took convincing from his co-workers to get him on the rappel over the cliff edge.

He is now 15 feet below the lip of cliff and looks awful. He's red, sweating, breathing hard, and says he is going to pass out. You engage the belay line to take control of his lowering, and try to get him to release the death grip he has on his brake line. This triggers drama: you hear swearing from below as he grabs the main line above his rappel device with both hands. Eventually he lets go and you lower him to the ground.

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Topics: wilderness medicine, WMI, Backpacking, case study, Wilderness Medicine, psychological first aid