Basic Psychosocial Skills Training

This short course on Basic Psychosocial Skills to help COVID-19 first responders to take care of yourselves and your beneficiaries. This course consists of five modules including 1) Your Wellbeing, 2) Supportive Communication in Everyday Interactions, 3) Offering Practical Support, 4) Supporting People who are Experiencing Stress and 5) Helping People in Specific Situations.  Whilst this course is primarily designed to support COVID-19 responders, these skills can be applied by first responders to other crisis situations.

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Your Well Being

This module will give you a basic introduction to the main considerations of supporting someone else while looking after your own well being. 

  • 1.1 Your Well Being : An Introduction 

  • 1.2 Your Well Being: Identifying your stress symptoms 

  • 1.3 Your Well Being : Looking after yourself 

After you watch these 3 videos, explore how you can apply your new knowledge with the case study. 



Supportive Communication 

This module will explore supportive communication, which is crucial to connecting with others in crisis situations and everyday interactions.  

This module has the following sections: 

  • 2.1 Supportive communication in everyday interactions: An introduction 

  • 2.2 Supportive communication in everyday interactions: Learning to listen 

  • 2.3 Supportive communication : Providing remote support 

After you complete these sections, watch the two case studies and reflect on your learning.



Offering Practical Support 

Offering practical support is a key element of basic psychosocial skills. This module will cover the following topics: 

  • 3.1 Providing information and basic items 

  • 3.2 Linking to others

  • 3.3 Helping others help themselves

This module has 2 case studies to help you reflect and review how we can help in different ways. 



Supporting People Experiencing Stress

Different people have different reactions to the same situation. Supporting people experiencing stress has many elements. This module consists of the following: 

  • 4.1 Supporting people who are experiencing stress: An introduction 

  • 4.2 Supporting people with common stress

  • 4.3 Identifying severe stress reactions 

  • 4.4 Supporting people in serious distress 

  • 4.5 Important things to remember 

Watch the case study and think about how this may apply to your experience.



Specific Situations

There are always special circumstances that you have to consider when supporting people in communities. This module covers the following: 

  • 5.1 Helping people in specific situations: Recognising vulnerable people​

  • 5.2 Vulnerable groups 

  • 5.3 Supporting vulnerable groups 


Have you completed all the modules?

When you have completed all the modules, take this final survey to check how much you have learned!



Helping people during times of crisis often requires that we link with other service providers. Reaching out to appropriate services is an important step to ensure that the persons you are supporting or yourself have access to necessary supports.



The course was developed by the Asia Foundation and the Good Practice Group, with support from the Lotus Circle. The content was adapted from the Inter-Agency Standing Committee publication “Basic Psychosocial Skills: A Guide for COVID-19 Responders”. The adaptation and design of the course contents were undertaken by Thiviya Kandiah, Sabrina Cader, Nilushka Perera, Kusala Wettasinghe and Ananda Galappatti. This adaptation was translated to Tamil by Saisanathani Sridharan and Thiviya Kandiah and to Sinhala by Uwasara Arambewale Weerakoon and Hassna Faiz. The module videos were narrated by Thiviya Kandiah, Punniyamoorthy Jeyatheepa, Aloka Weerasekara and Ananda Galappatti.

This translation/adaptation was not created by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). The IASC is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this translation/adaptation. Additional material has been included in this adaptation. The original English edition ‘Inter-Agency Standing Committee. Basic Psychosocial Skills: A Guide for COVID-19 Responders.’ published in 2020, shall be the binding and authentic edition: https://app.mhpss.net/resource/basic-psychosocial-skills-a-guide-for-covid-19-responders

This translation/adaptation is published under the same license as the original publication: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/)