How Does Critical Incident Stress Management Work?

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Health Assured team

29 January 2018

When a critical or traumatic incident occurs, it can be difficult to know what steps to take to help employees to work through the aftermath. As emotions will certainly be high, those affected may be struggling to realign their lives or find ways to effectively recover from the situation. Speaking to friends, managers or colleagues during this difficult time can be useful and will reassure the affected individuals that they are not alone. However, when these sensitive situations arise, it can be beneficial to acquire help from our team of specialists who can provide the kind of support that staff may need. To find out more about how our Critical Incident Stress Management service works and its benefits, read on:

Who can benefit from a CISM service?

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is an effective debriefing procedure that we offer to help normalise psychological, physiological and emotional responses to minor, moderate or severe critical incidents. Initially, someone experiencing trauma may show symptoms of shock for around 24 hours. After that, they may suffer both physical and emotional responses:

  • Nightmares
  • Faster heart rates
  • Disruption of sleep
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Inability to focus
  • Irritability
  • Distress
  • Anxiety

  Our CISM support services offer all employees help throughout the different stages of critical situations to help reduce any feelings listed above, and any other support that they need. We can intervene at any time and help to educate staff on how to communicate and support each other in such an event.

What support do we offer?

Telephone counselling

When dealing with trauma, support may be needed at any point during the day and it can be comforting to speak to a professional. Our trained in-house trauma practitioners provide acute crisis intervention services including immediate telephone support 24/7.  This means that anyone affected by a critical incident has constant access to instant support, regardless of the time.

Face-to-face counselling

Following a critical incident, our specialist in-house trauma practitioners are usually able to make their way to any site within 24-48 hours for defusing and stress management. This will mean that everyone can quickly access face-to-face support, and an expert level of care that is more personalised and in-depth.

Training services

Along with providing counselling services, our team can provide education to various reactions to any given incident. This will include how to recognise the signs of someone struggling with mental health in the workplace. We do this with hopes that it will help staff to feel better prepared and able to handle different responses. This in turn will help towards a calmer, more supportive atmosphere in the event of a critical incident.

CISM in action

In the event of a past critical incident involving international students, our specialist CISM team were able to provide 24-hour access to help and guidance. We took into consideration the students’ critical condition and provided English, Russian and Mandarin-speaking counsellors on-site within 24 hours of the incident occurring. This meant that the students felt supported, and ensured that they did not feel alone in this tough time. We also provided training around possible reactions to the incident and tailored our services to consider cultural and language barriers, including the effect of the festive period and dealing with the change in environment. This meant that staff felt calmer, and more informed when dealing with these reactions. Offering this kind of support will let employees know that they are not alone during a critical time in their lives, and ensure that they have someone to turn to in their time of need. Get in touch today to find out more about our CISM services.  

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