Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a comprehensive crisis intervention system for people who have experienced a traumatic event. 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 applied to nontraditional first responders, individuals, families, groups or organizations. When implemented properly, this intervention offers significant crisis support.
The Health and Human Services Commission established the Texas CISM Network in 1992 to assist emergency response personnel who have experienced or survived a critical incident, such as a line of duty death, death of a child, multiple casualties or a fatality scene. The network has teams 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 emergency responder agencies and organizations in Texas. The teams’ focus is to minimize the harmful effects of job stress and accelerate the recovery of personnel who were traumatized in these situations.
Network teams provide immediate, incident-specific and supportive crisis intervention through a proven model. The teams are not licensed counselors or therapists, nor is it their function to replace professional counseling or employee assistance programs.
CISM Network teams are available 24-7 within the state. There is no charge for their services, although reimbursement for travel and lodging expenses might be requested.
HHSC, through the network, provides a clearinghouse for information and is instrumental in the organizational and ongoing stages of team development.
Texas CISM Network goals are to:
- Provide CISM and educational support necessary to ensure Texas' emergency service workers and their primary support systems are functioning optimally.
- 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 CISM techniques.
- Provide initial and continuing education training for CISM team members.
The Texas CISM 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 – Coordination.