Announcing the Academy of Crisis Intervention Scholarship Fund!

The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) is proud to announce the creation of the Academy of Crisis Intervention Scholarship Fund! Always in the forefront of delivering quality CISM training, the ICISF has recognized a need, and has established a scholarship fund for full and partial scholarships to assist individuals who are unable to attend ICISF training due to financial constraints, the opportunity to attend the World Congress or one of the Regional Trainings held each year. These scholarships will be applied directly to the registration costs for the training and do not include airfare or lodging at this time. We believe that through this fund, we can continue to increase the opportunity for this vital training for many deserving individuals for years to come. While the fund is still in its infancy, we are excited to announce that we will be providing a minimum of two scholarships to either the main World Congress or one of the Regional Trainings scheduled for 2015.

To download an application for the scholarship, click here.

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We are very excited about our new “Supporter” program for our scholarship fund. For a minimum donation of only $25, your name will be printed in the 13th World Congress program, recognizing you as a “Supporter,” or you can honor someone else and have a name placed in the program “In Honor Of.”   In addition, all “Supporters” and “In Honor Of” names will also scroll across the monitors at the 13th World Congress. All “Supporters” will also receive recognition in a future edition of LifeNet.

If you would like to support the Academy of Crisis Intervention Scholarship Fund, please click of the link below:

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I Read It on the Internet

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By Alice Franks-Gray

I have been following discussion groups on social media around CISM. The discussion has been particularly lively at the LinkedIn discussion group sites. For LinkedIn members there are three discussion groups, two of which have new discussion posts every 1-2 weeks:

Critical Incident Stress Caregivers – 1,281 members

EAP Critical Incident Response – 1,279 members

I have noticed that some of the same discussion questions appear at both the “EAP” and “Caregivers” locations; both seem to share some of the same participants. The backgrounds and experiences of those responding to questions and comments posted there are broadly diverse and represent mental health and EAP providers, and uniformed services (both first response and military). A flaw of this form of information is (absent an active moderator) anyone can say anything. Given enough reported letters behind a last name, anyone can present as an ‘expert,’ and this allows biased individuals to appear as credible resources. Unbiased information is needed to make the most informed decisions when navigating the complex issues of critical incident response, particularly for those “in harm’s way.”

Some background: In 1984 I lived in a rural Wisconsin community where the mentally ill son of two local EMTs stabbed his teenaged sister to death in the family home. His intention was to kill his parents as well, but after slicing into his sister 32 times and leaving her body in a basement closet, he walked to a local church and confessed his act to a priest. The couple returned home, after a social evening with friends, to find their property a crime scene. The deceased young woman was a regular babysitter for the children of local emergency services personnel, was well-known and popular in the community. The aftermath of this incident had a profound impact upon the local emergency services community; 50% of the emergency services personnel in the community had or would leave uniformed service within four years of the murder. There were a number for divorces, substance abuse issues with those who remained and the level of staffing for the ambulance was very thin. This was one catalyst for my involvement in CISM and my continuing education in psychology.

This article is available in its entirety in the latest issue of LifeNet. The ICISF’s LifeNet newsletter is an exclusive benefit of ICISF membership. For more information, please visit our Member page.

Helping Save the Heroes

LifeNetLogoAsk someone to identify a hero, the sort of person who risks his or her well-being to help someone in trouble. They will name people who reach deep into their souls to gather the resolve to deal with fires or medical emergencies, serve in the military, or fight crime. These are examples, and certainly not a complete list. The true question is not, “Who qualifies as a hero?” We must ask who saves the heroes from the consequences of the risks they suffer.

At the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF), our mission guides us to help save the heroes from their personal internal struggle. We are not alone in this quest, thus we help save the heroes. This single phrase offers the value of our work; and now we must step up our effort. The ICISF struggled to survive the aftermath of the economic recession of 2008. Many other educational foundations and non-profit organizations withered away. The survival of the ICISF set the stage for specific, positive changes offered in the following paragraphs. Keep reading if you want to know the near and multi-year plans for the ICISF.

This article is available in its entirety in the latest issue of LifeNet. The ICISF’s LifeNet newsletter is an exclusive benefit of ICISF membership. For more information, please visit our Member page.

A Time to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is the time of year that we sit back and reflect on everything we have to be thankful for. Very importantly, we are thankful for you! THANK YOU for everything that you do in your professional lives, and then so much more in giving back to others through your training and expertise in the field of Critical Incident Stress Management. At the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, we recognize and applaud your sacrifices to help others. From our first responders, to airline pilots, our educators, and everyone else that we serve, the ravages of critical incident stress knows no boundaries and you are truly “Helping Save the Heroes!”

We strive to bring high quality training to all corners of the globe every year and as we continue our outreach, we need YOUR help. Every two years the ICISF hosts the World Congress on Stress, Trauma and Coping. The upcoming 13th World Congress will take place in Baltimore on May 11-16, 2015 where we will be connecting the crisis response community. Please help us spread the word by telling your friends and colleagues about the 13th World Congress with more opportunities to engage, learn and share in an environment where solutions are evolving to deal with the on-going challenges facing crisis interventionists.

We are also very excited about our new “Supporter” program as well. This program will assist us in expanding the training programs and services provided by the ICISF. For a minimum donation of only $25, your name will be printed in the 13th World Congress program, recognizing you as a “Supporter,” or you can honor someone else and have a name placed in the program “In Honor Of.” In addition, all “Supporters” and “In Honor Of” names will also scroll across the monitors at the 13th World Congress.

To make your donation and become an official “Supporter” of the ICISF, please click here:

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Thoughts on CISM from a Long Time Instructor

By Bruce Ramsay-CTR, TFT,-Adv., Certified Traumatologist , Long Time ICISF Approved Instructor

I was introduced to Critical Incident Stress Management when I attended a training in Alberta, Canada that was taught by Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell. This was in 1988. At the time I was a Captain in the training division of my fire department-District of North Vancouver, BC Canada. I thought it might be interesting as I had always had an interest in psychology. It was far more than interesting. I sat with my mouth open for two days as Dr. Mitchell explained normal response to trauma. I had no idea I was a trauma survivor. I had witnessed the death of nine former co-workers when I attended a fire at a grain elevator where I had worked for several years right out of high school. I did know that my life was a wreck at the time. I had suffered depression and suicidal ideation for years and simply thought I was “losing it”-more accurately that I had “lost it”. I spoke with Dr. Mitchell after the training and I told him that. He assured me I was acting normally but was kind enough to spend time with me and to ask about symptoms. In that discussion I confessed that I was in fact suicidal. Through his intervention, caring and support, I slowly began to realize that I was in fact normal but had been highly traumatized in my fire department career which at that time spanned just over nine years. CISM and particularly the kindness of Dr. Mitchell saved my life and started me on treatment and recovery.

This article is available in its entirety in the latest issue of LifeNet. The ICISF’s LifeNet newsletter is an exclusive benefit of ICISF membership. For more information, please visit our Member page.