Critical Incident Stress Management

Using critical incident stress management will enable a person to return to their daily activities more quickly and with little or no effect of post traumatic stress disorder. The probability of facing a tragedy is becoming societally systemic. Mass crises and disasters are becoming more and more frequent; some say epidemic. What ever the descriptive, effective crisis response is necessary to avert unwelcome and unintended consequences. When we look back at tragedies like 911, there was very little people could do about what happened on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 before or during the incident. Millions of workers, visitors, and passersby were stunned to see and feel the results of the plane exploding into The World Trade Center, North Tower. While police officers, fire fighters, co-workers, supervisors, politicians, and family members attempted to react, to the devastation, the World Trade Center's South Tower was hit. Clearly, America was blind-sided with this event. A comprehensive plan for critical incident stress management could have helped to resolve some of the issues throughout New York, the nation and the world through whom the reverberation of that day can still be felt. There must have been something that could have been done differently in order to have a different outcome, to lessen the effects on the people, the families, the lives that were negatively impacted. Many people have been scarred for life. Some will not enter tall buildings, others will never get on an airplane, and still others may never enter a major city or travel the world. Those outcomes do not compare to the loss of lives, limbs, and dreams suffered by so many others.

Because of this and numerous other major incidents, a comprehensive multi-dimensional, integrated crisis intervention system has been developed to pre-respond, respond, and post-respond to these critical incidents. It's formal name is Critical Incident Stress Management. It involves several core components. Together these components make up a comprehensive plan that can be used to educate those involved in these critical life altering situations for a more immediate, organized, and effective response. The whole process begins with pre-crisis preparation. Effective action must start with a targeted response and not a "reaction." Once a person goes into reaction mode, they are already at a disadvantage. Clearly the person was not prepared or ready for a disaster or large-scale incident. It is incumbent upon schools, community organizations, government agencies and churches to have already planned out a communication method, a mode of transportation, and a treatment procedure for different types of tragedies. After development, such a plan must be clearly communicated and even practiced by the people who are charged with the mobilization.

Within hours of the situation, if not minutes, assessments, triage, and alleviation of acute symptoms should take place. In that regard, a critical incident stress managementplan is essential to savings lives, savings homes, and saving families. Counselors, support groups, and ministers should be ready to defuse the hysteria, shock, and anger that follows such events. During these sessions, people are given the opportunity to vent, to grieve, and to indicate their level of rage and disbelief over the tragedy. Through one or more sessions of this stress debriefing, those in charge should be able to assess the need for follow-up and help to provide closure for those involved. Sometimes Critical Incident Stress Management may include ongoing medical and/or psychological treatments. For those who have been severely physically traumatized, there is likely to be a long adjustment period. Referrals to appropriate agencies should be just a phone call away. All of the necessary paperwork for referrals and treatments must be handled gingerly and with the utmost regard for the person in crises. Surely, a "stress team" member could be assigned to these types of tasks. When a person has just lived through a major tragedy and been severely injured on top of that, it is cold-hearted to hand them a mountain of paperwork to read and figure out.

One of the reasons why a critical incident stress management plan must be comprehensive is that people are complex. And anything that has an impact on one person, most likely impacts an entire family. Rarely are people without family members and even if they are, most will have a non-relative who cares deeply for them. Working with family and non-family members in times of distress and including them in the support of the injured person is compulsory for maximum results. There may be times when family members are estranged. Such a situation would not automatically preclude these members from being notified or asked to help. Only when there is no interest on the the part of the estranged family member and the injured party should they not be included. Any serous physical or psychological incident like this must be handled with kid gloves.

Thus saith the LORD against all mine evil neighbours, that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit ; Behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. (Jeremiah 12:14) Another, and really very crucial part of the critical incident stress management plan concerns the future of the individuals involved. If the trauma suffered was so great that the person could not possibly return to work as usual (even after an extended period of recuperation) there may be a need for retraining, financial support of some nature, and even perhaps long-term care. All of the person's needs must be met somehow. Various tragedies have happened around the world that have left people, families, and companies devastated. Unless a critical incident stress management plan is comprehensive, it will do little to impact it's overall purpose. People who volunteer, or are paid, to handle crisis must be willing, able, and ready for every twist and turn of events that is possible under these circumstances.

Managing Work Related Stress

Managing work related stress includes accepting imperfection of oneself as well as the ability to separate function problems from personal problems. If a job is not performed to company standard then a person should not take criticism as a personal attack. Likewise, when someone else does a bad job, which affects personal work, then concentrating on the next task at hand should be the only concentration. Even though the coffee pot is a great place to socialize, a person does not need to consume even half a cup. Likewise, excluding refined sugars, trans fat, and salt will help relieve stressors as well as aid in the prevention of multiple diseases. Proper routine in the morning can lead to a higher rate of success at a job as well as relieve work related stress. Studies have shown that unrealistic deadlines, low levels of support from supervisors, lack of employee involvement in decision-making create the highest level of work related stress. Thus, sincere involvement at work and adequate morning routine are simple ways to have a great impact on the amount of anxiety a person experiences at home and in the workplace.

Get involved in the company wellbeing program which promotes employees to get to know each other through a variety of non-threatening events such as pizza parties, bowling, and contests. Likewise a company sometimes has resources such as video games, magazines, books, exercise equipment, and board games available to help employees with managing work related stress during breaks and lunch. While it may be possible to exercise at work, some added stress of colleagues watching may cause more harm than good for some people. Planning a time before or after work to get the full benefits of a workout can be more time efficient due to the higher rate of concentration only towards the specific task such as finishing a mile or 100 whacks with the tennis racket. Plan activities that will not cause physical stressors to an already problematic mind. Physical activity should be a tool used to successfully eliminate if not manage stressors in life.

Proper nutrition is a platform for a well-rounded healthy life including the avoidance of disease, illness, and infection. This includes a boost in fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. Preservatives, salts, and fats cause many problems that lead to depression and other health problems. Including another person will not only keep a person accountable, but likewise create a sounding board for any new ideas for managing work related stress as well as a therapist used to complain about the job. In addition, this person may offer fellowship needed to alleviate work related stress at unrelated levels such as social issues and problems at home. This person may have resources to aid in full recovery from problems such as lack of skills to fix a house or money management; teaching or referring adequate resources can accomplish this. Likewise, this person can offer on outside view on the stressors in the other persons life possibly suggesting areas to improve upon such as time management.

Creating routine or scheduled events can alleviate some areas causing stressful situations. A morning routine of stretching, healthy breakfast, meditation and listening to some favorite music may be what is needed to change the outlook on the whole day. Most people do not have a lot of time in the morning, but how a person spends it can contribute to managing work related stress the rest of the day. Additionally, in a relaxed state of mind a person may recognize events during the day that cause anxiety and can be eliminated. Eliminating any unnecessary stressors will create a better overall environment for life. This may include stopping at a busy shop to get the newspaper or coffee when it is readily available at work or rushing to drop off the dry cleaning when it could be done at the end of the day. Evaluate each action of the day to determine which ones may be adjustable and act accordingly. A person may find changing one event at a time is less stressful than changing them all at once. The goal is to get rid of work related stress, not create more of it. "The LORD do so and much more to Jonathan: but if it please my father to do thee evil, then I will shew it thee, and send thee away, that thou mayest go in peace: and the LORD be with thee, as he hath been with my father." (1 Samuel 20:13)

Experiencing stress is a way that the body protects itself from infection and injury both mental and physical. The heart rate raises along with body temperature, muscles tense, and perspiration forms. These are all normal reactions to stressful situations. If a body does not respond that way, likewise, a problem may need to be explored. As a reaction to these initial symptoms a person may feel tired, irritated, and experience times of extreme high and low energy levels. These characteristics also describe a person in depression, which is the next step if work related stress is not managed adequately. Many community colleges, community centers, employers, and even libraries offer courses that may qualify as aids in managing work related stress. Any distraction from the problem is considered treatment. This may include playing non-violent video games, reading a book, learning a new skill, or taking an exercise class. Any of these options offer the hands and the mind to be somewhere else in an environment that does not require anything of the person.

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