Four things to know about Psychological First Aid

Knowing about the “Look, Listen, Link” model is hugely beneficial.

Brandon Leong

Compulsive playlist maker.

Published: 28 October 2021, 2:58 PM

We are often so busy with our own lives we don’t know what someone is going through. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple message to check in on someone ensure they aren’t isolated. 

The pandemic has been particularly draining for everyone with the resultant restrictions perpetually never ending, fatigue is something that many of us are experiencing. COVID-19 has only exacerbated our mental health wellness. Other than your personal mental wellness, it’s important to keep a lookout for those around you too.

Mental wellness can be defined as a positive state of mental health according to the Singapore Association of Mental Health. Being mentally well is to have your mind functioning for your best interests. 

We can all benefit from knowing what to do to help our loved ones and close friends navigate through these uncertain times with the Psychological First Aid model which consists of looking, listening and linking. 

Psychological First Aid is the first response to support the people in your life. We use Psychological First Aid to identify signs of stress and support an affected person. This first aid can apply to everyday situations from relationship troubles, academic stress and future uncertainty. By practicing sympathy and empathy, these small acts of kindness can go a long way. 

The concept of Psychological First Aid and the “Look, Listen, Link” model was highlighted during a recent People’s Association (PA) and National Youth Council (NYC) dialogue held on Oct 9. 

The “Your Mind Matters: Addressing Mental Health Issues Amongst Youths” discussion was led by Dr Geraldine Tan, a psychologist at the Therapy Room, Miss Carmen Wong, a psychosocial consultant at Singapore Red Cross Society and Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State at the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment. 

Here are four things to know about the model: 

1) Look

Observe and be aware of the people around you. Keep a lookout for your loved ones and close friends that may be distressed. Ask them if there is anything you can do to help. 

Sometimes, just the mere act of offering support to help them can speak volumes and goes a long way in letting them know that they are not alone. 


2) Listen

Offer a listening ear to them, it can help them to feel calm and also reassures them that there is someone that cares about them and that they are not alone. It is often therapeutic to share the concerns and worries you may have and to verbalise it instead of letting it manifest mentally. 

You can ask them about their needs and concerns. Find out what their priorities are, what exactly is weighing on their mind. 

Allow your loved ones or close friends space to share how they feel as it may be tough to articulate during times like these and do not pressure them if they do not want to talk about their feelings.

3) Link

By connecting them with loved ones and the qualified social support, you can help people address their feelings and to cope with their problems.

You can also help by providing information, linking them to resources for further help. There are a ton of mental health resources online these days. 

4) Pay attention to non-verbal and non-physical telltale signs

Some people may prefer not to share their feelings with others. Some non-verbal signs can include increased fatigue and irritability, changes in appetite and weight and a loss in interest in activities they used to enjoy doing. 

You can always do your part and practice the look-listen-link steps to help your loved ones and close friends during this period. It will not only comfort them but also remind them that there is someone looking out for them. 

For more resources on mental wellness, click here

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