Johns Hopkins course ranks among most popular offerings on Coursera

Psychological First Aid, which teaches participants how to respond to mental health needs in emergency situations, recognized for high enrollment, completion rate

Psychological First Aid, an online course developed and taught by Johns Hopkins faculty, is among 13 Coursera offerings highlighted recently by Business Insider for both high enrollment and high completion rate. The latter measure is a metric that signals how much value the course provides to its students, the publication says.

To date, more than 91,000 students have enrolled in the Johns Hopkins Psychological First Aid class via Coursera, a massive open online course portal that partners with universities to develop course content.

The class teaches students the RAPID model—which stands for reflective listening, assessment of needs, prioritization, intervention, and disposition—designed to help support the mental health of people in an emergency. These techniques can be used to assist those in the wake of a natural disaster, military action, or outbreak of disease. The World Health Organization and the Red Cross recommend some form of psychological first aid, or PFA, following a traumatic occurrence.

"PFA is a life skill, not just a professional skill," says George Everly, an adjunct professor in the university's Bloomberg School of Public Health who teaches the course. "If you are a parent, a coach, a mentor, a manager, or anyone in a leadership position, it can be essential. Anyone who is likely to encounter a person in acute distress can use PFA."

The course was developed at the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness under the leadership of Vice Provost and Chief Risk and Compliance Officer Jon Links and with the support of research associate Natalie Semon.

Johns Hopkins currently offers more than 70 courses through Coursera. The Coursera for JHU pilot program offers Coursera classes to Hopkins students, staff, and faculty free of charge through Aug. 29, 2020.