Critical Incident Stress Management is a type of crisis intervention designed to provide support for those who have experienced traumatic events. It is composed of multiple components that attempt to address each phase of a crisis situation. Traditionally offered only to first responders, CISM interventions can be implemented with non-traditional first responders, individuals, families, groups and organizations. When implemented properly, this intervention offers significant crisis support.
The Texas Critical Incident Stress Management Network was established in 1992 to assist emergency response personnel who experienced or survived a critical incident, such as a line of duty death, death of a child, multiple casualty or fatality scenes. The Network teams are comprised of trained volunteer mental health professionals, peers and select members of the clergy who provide responsive supportive crisis intervention services and stress management education to any emergency responder agency or organization in Texas. The focus of the teams is to minimize the harmful effect of job stress and accelerate the recovery of personnel who were traumatized in these situations.
Teams are not licensed counselors or therapists. It is not their function to replace professional counseling or employee assistance programs, but to provide immediate, incident-specific, supportive crisis intervention with a proven model.
The Critical Incident Stress Management Network teams are available within the state on a 24-hour basis. There is no charge for this service, although reimbursement for travel and lodging expenses might be requested.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, through the network, provides a clearinghouse for information and is instrumental in the organizational and ongoing stages of team development.
Texas Critical Incident Stress Management Network's goals are to:
- Provide critical incident stress management and educational support necessary to ensure optimal functioning of Texas' emergency service workers and their primary support systems.
- Promote job retention capabilities and reduce turnover rates for emergency services personnel.
- Enhance the quality of response for Texans needing emergency services.
- Conduct pre-incident educational programs to acquaint emergency service workers with critical incident stress management techniques.
- Provide initial and continuing education training for critical incident stress management team members.
The Texas Critical Incident Stress Management Network's dedicated volunteers freely give their time and talents to provide a vital service to Texas' Emergency Responder system.
Any queries related to CISM resources can be directed to HHSC Disaster Behavioral Health Services at DBHS@hhsc.state.tx.us