How does the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Program Work?

A traumatic event may occur over a few hours or a few minutes, but the long-term effects that it can have on your employees and your business can be devastating. When serious mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or PTSD occur because of a traumatic event, it’s not only harmful to the employee who experiences those issues but also to the company. It can lead to increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and can ultimately, affect the morale of everyone around them.

To identify and cope with such traumatic events, a short-term psychological system was developed called Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). CISM was developed for victims of trauma such as first responders, medical personnel, or witnesses to a traumatic or critical incident.

What qualifies as a critical incident?

Critical incidents are those incidents that cause people to have a powerful emotional reaction. Emergency services personnel use a list which they refer to as the Terrible Ten which include:

1. Line of duty deaths
2. The suicide of a colleague
3. Serious work-related injury
4. Multi-casualty / disaster / terrorism incidents
5. Events with a high degree of threat to the personnel
6. Significant events involving children
7. Events in which the victim is known to the personnel
8. Events with excessive media interest
9. Events that are prolonged and end with a negative outcome
10. Any significantly powerful, overwhelming distressing event

It is important to remember that individuals can have different reactions to the same event; an incident that does not negatively affect one person, may cause significant trauma in another person. Through CISM employees will find a compassionate professional who understands the intricacies of their trauma.

How does CISM work when these events occur?

One of the primary goals of CISM is to lessen the impact of the critical incident and help employees through the recovery process. Interventions will, of course, vary depending on the nature of the incident and the person involved. It may include an immediate diffusing of the situation and assuring everyone that their reactions to the event are normal and/or it may include a debriefing at a later time – usually within 72 hours of the event occurring.

Why is CISM important?

When traumatic events occur, they can be harmful to both the people and business. But studies have shown that for every dollar a company invests in mental health support for its employees, the return on investment is three dollars. Since critical incidents can severely impact an employee’s mental health, investing in a system like CISM is a smart business decision.

In fact, in a study done in New York City hospitals, it was found that if there’s an intervention on Type A trauma within 72 hours of an event, the risk of PTSD was mitigated by as much as 80%. By offering trauma victims a safe place to talk about their experience and process their feelings, employers can help to lower their employee’s stress and let them know they are not alone.

Contact TeksMed Today!

For more information, please call 1-844-835-7253. We can have a trained responder at your workplace within 24-72 hours of an incident if it is deemed necessary and we offer continued support and follow-up.

To learn more about CISM and other services we offer, contact us today.

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