What is critical incident stress management training, and why do we need professionals to learn it?
Critical incident stress management training is extremely important for people working in professions that deal with or may have to deal with critical incidents. These events or incidents have the ability to destroy a person’s ability to handle critical events and can produce extremely strong behavioral, cognitive, or emotional reactions in individuals that experience critical incidents.
Many professions that commonly experience critical incidents and would benefit from critical incident stress management training include health care providers, law enforcement personnel, emergency room hospital staff, emergency and fire medical service professionals, paramedics, and the military, among others.
Critical incident stress management training supplies professionals with several different techniques that provide them with supportive and early intervention methods.
These training sessions usually include support from well-qualified mental health professionals that provide consultation, guide peer training, and lead group and individual crisis interventions. Critical incident stress management training professionals are skilled in providing not only crisis interventions but also stress management and traumatic reaction assessment.
Because they are familiar with the emergency department work environment and emergency dynamics, they have more potential and perspective for educating emergency workers.
Critical incident stress management training focuses on prevention of problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by identifying and addressing problems when they occur to avoid or minimize problems. The training programs have to meet the needs of the personnel and company or organization by being flexible.
Peer leaders should be involved in the critical incident stress management training programs. These include professionals and peer leaders such as nursing staff, police officers, firefighters, and emergency room staff along with mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, clergy, psychologists, and social workers.
Stress techniques for people involved in critical incidents include one-on-one support, education, family support, informal peer support, and in some cases, debriefings. Critical incident stress management training may include formal education workshops on traumatic stress.
People suffering from PTSD, post-traumatic stress or critical incident stress often experience some common symptoms such as reliving the anxiety or fear through nightmares or flashbacks, which makes it difficult to get on with their lives.
Some people develop mental health problems or personality disorders and turn to alcohol, drugs, or food for comfort but these make their problems even worse. Others feel embarrassed because they have a problem and try to ignore it but if left untreated, critical incident stress can quickly engulf their life.
Critical incident stress management training is very necessary and important, so people suffering from stress have educated professionals they can turn to for support, help and guidance.