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Picture of Solfrid Raknes and hjelpehånda

Psychological First Aid Kit – Conceptualising feelings

The psychological first aid kit was developed to help children and teenagers conceptualise their feelings and thoughts and handle difficult situations. The kit is a tool to teach them that we have the ability to influence how we feel, by controlling what we think and what we do.

The psychological first aid kit is a self-help kit meant to teach children, teenagers and parents the basics of cognitive therapy. The thought is that the ones who make use of the kit will find themselves better equipped to handle challenging situations and budding mental difficulties. The psychological first aid kit is aimed to have a preventive function against the development of mental disorders.

Solfrid Raknes, a clinical psychologist specialised in cognitive therapy, got the idea to create a concept to help children and teenagers back in 2007. She designed a product that would help children and teenagers’ ability to better handle difficult situations, cope with challenges and prevent more serious psychological challenges. The psychological first aid kit was implemented by the cooperation of competent cognitive therapists with experience from therapy and from sharing their psychological experience.

The first two kits were launched in February 2010, and targeted children from the age of 8 – 12 and teenagers from the age of 13 – 18. The psychological firs aid kit consisted of an information leaflet with short texts, simple exercises and illustrations, as well as useful and nice-looking figures that appeal to children and youngsters. The free iPad application “Hjelpehånda” is also available, as well as multiple films on YouTube offering insight into the concept. All products are available at bookstores, including online.

In 2014 material targeting children from the age of 4 – 7 was launched.

As of today, 8000 primary health care professionals have received training to use the kits, and they have been translated and launched in Denmark and Sweden. The kits are used at home, by many health service professionals, in therapy and by child welfare.

BTO contributed with business development, financing and legal assistance (IPR and agreements) in the project.


You can watch movies related to the project:


  • Feasability study (N=512): 80 % of the school nurses who used PF 6 months after receiving material and short training still used it (Haugland, Mauseth & Raknes, 2013)
  • Promising results from an open trial universal 5-lesson school program run by teachers (N=96) (Samnoy et al., in progress)
  • Two pilots (N=11) used for modifying a brief intervention based on PF in advance of a multi-site RCT were promising
  • PF som del av fleksibel, kortvarig behandling for traumatiserte unge (N=11)
  • – Ongoing RCT: PF som del av kortvarig mestringskurs for engstelige unge (N=400)
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