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Table 2 Statements accepted as mental health first aid guidelines

From: Development of mental health first aid guidelines for panic attacks: a Delphi study

General intervention principles: Round:
The first aider should identify themselves if they are not known to the person. 1
The first aider should explain to the person that they are experiencing a panic attack. 1
The first aider should speak to the person in a reassuring but firm manner. 1
The first aider should remain calm and avoid becoming caught up in the panic. 1
The first aider should speak clearly and slowly. 1
The first aider should use short, clear sentences. 1
The first aider should be patient with the person. 1
The first aider should acknowledge that the person's terror feels very real to them. 1
The first aider should reassure the person that a panic attack will rarely last more than ten minutes. 2
The first aider should know the symptoms of a panic attack. 2
The first aider should ask the person if they know what is happening. 2
If the person says that they are having a panic attack, the first aider should ask them if they need any kind of help, and give it to them. 2
The first aider should ask the person if they have ever had a panic attack before. 3
De-escalating a panic attack  
No items endorsed.  
Slowing down the person's breathing:  
No items endorsed.  
Things a first aider should say during a panic attack:  
Rather than making assumptions about what the person needs, the first aider should ask them directly. 1
The first aider should reassure the person that a panic attack, while very frightening, is not life threatening. 1
The first aider should reassure the person that a panic attack, while very frightening, is not dangerous. 1
The first aider should not belittle the person's experience. 1
The first aider should reassure the person that they are safe. 2
The first aider should reassure the person that the symptoms will pass. 2
Professional help in an emergency:  
If the person loses consciousness, the first aider should apply regular first aid principles (check for breathing and pulse). 2
If the person loses consciousness, the first aider should call an ambulance. 2
Alternative approaches to stopping a panic attack:  
No items endorsed.  
Seeking professional help  
The first aider should assure the person that effective treatments are available for panic disorder. 1
The first aider should be aware of the range of professional help available for panic attacks. 2
The first aider should tell the person that if the panic attacks recur, and are causing them distress, they should speak to an appropriate health professional. 2
The first aider should assure the person that panic attacks and panic disorder can be effectively treated. 2
The first aider should ask the person if they know where they can seek help and advice about panic attacks. If the person doesn't know, the first aider should offer some suggestions. 2
Self-help strategies:  
After the panic attack has stopped, the first aider should explain to the person where they can get more information about panic attacks. 2