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HDI Launches Spiritual First Aid Online Training & Certificate Course

December 7, 2020

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College has launched a new online Spiritual First Aid training and certificate course designed to help individuals offer virtual peer-to-peer spiritual and emotional support during COVID-19, disasters, and other challenging times.

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College has launched a new online Spiritual First Aid training and certificate course designed to help individuals offer virtual peer-to-peer spiritual and emotional support during COVID-19, disasters, and other challenging times. It is designed for lay leaders, church leaders, first responders, and anyone who would like to provide support to those who are struggling during the pandemic. The course is available here.

"As the pandemic wears on, the spiritual and emotional needs around us are great—and growing. The good news is you don’t have to be a professional psychologist to offer support that makes a difference," said Jamie Aten, Ph.D., founder and co-director of HDI and lead developer of Spiritual First Aid. "This course steps into the gap to equip anyone with the tools to understand and respond to these needs and keep them from getting worse in the long run. In this training, you’ll learn all the skills, be equipped with the resources, and gain the knowledge you need to be able to make a difference to a hurting world."

Through readings, online lectures, and additional resources, this course will equip individuals to use Spiritual First Aid’s easy-to-use BLESS method, which takes the "guesswork" out of providing disaster spiritual and emotional care remotely and while staying at home.  

The course will take approximately 10 hours to complete, with content including:

  • Eight unique training videos with accompanying readings,
  • Five role-play scenario videos and Five expert commentary videos to see Spiritual First Aid in action,
  • Final assessment, and
  • Certificate of completion.

Also included is access to a curated selection of free HDI resources, including:

  • 7+ hours of videos with speakers such as N.T. Wright, Eugene Cho, and Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil,
  • Three manuals regarding Spiritual First Aid and COVID-19 mental health,
  • Ten+ additional tip sheets and resources,
  • Access to four extra mini-courses.

Individual registration costs $99, with group and organizational discounts available. Learn more about course offerings and pricing here

"We know that people can experience less distress when they receive spiritual support from people in their church or community. Becoming certified in Spiritual First Aid will equip you to be that support for others," says HDI co-director Kent Annan, M.Div.

Spiritual First Aid is an evidence-informed, peer-to-peer, disaster spiritual and emotional care intervention, designed to be delivered virtually. It is the first intervention of its kind to have been built from the ground up using evidence-informed spiritual and psychological insights from years of scientific study. Spiritual First Aid is based on 15 years of HDI’s faith and resilience research, conducted around the globe after disasters, mass traumas, civil conflicts, humanitarian crises, and public health emergencies. HDI spent the last four years refining and field testing Spiritual First Aid after numerous disasters across the United States, and this spring adapted the method to specifically focus on equipping people to provide spiritual and emotional care amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about Spiritual First Aid and find additional resources, visit spiritualfirstaidhub.com.

About Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute is the first faith-based academic disaster research center in the country. Our mission is to help the church prepare and care for a disaster-filled world. We use our research to create resources and events geared toward students, survivors, helpers, and researchers. Housed at Wheaton College Graduate School, the institute also offers an M.A. in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership and Trauma Certificate to equip the next generation of humanitarians. Learn more at wheaton.edu/HDI.

Media contact:

Laura Leonard

laura.leonard@wheaton.edu