What Resources are Out There?

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

I thought about calling this mental monday, but figured that might not be appreciated by someone who stumbles on this post. Emergency services humor can be kind of sick and twisted to some. Sometimes that’s how we help ourselves and each other.And sometimes the best way to help ourselves is to ask for help from others. That’s when the question comes into play: “What resources are out there?” What do you have access to that can help you deal with the things we see on the job?

One of your first resources should be your company officer. unfortunately not everyone has the opportunity to turn to that person. Whether it’s because of personality conflict or other issues. When this happens, you should have a mentor. Someone who understands the job, someone who understands the situations that can arise. This mentor can be someone who is retired, works in a different department/different station, it doesn’t matter.

The next resource is interdepartmental. I believe that each department (whether individual stations or entire jurisdictions), should have a group of people who members can turn to. i wouldn’t call it a formal debriefing group, but this should serve a method for providers to go to someone they don’t work with on a daily basis. Or in cases where they do not have a mentor or are fairly new to the department, give them people who have training and experience to bounce feelings off of. They may not have formal training and should DEFINITELY be the person that others turn to in the leadership role (whether formal or informal), but they should be there and willing.

Another resource that is out there for help is much more related to the career side.  If your department (whether career or volunteer) has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), this can provide you information and resources to assist with mental stress.  They are also able to provide assistance with substance abuse, financial concerns, legal concerns, and many other topics. Many departments offer EAPs that provide a few sessions for free, which should definitely assist in getting people to seek help.

Another resources you need to look into is the International Association of Critical Incident Stress Management. Not only do they provide trainings across the country, they also have access to the CISM points of contact for EVERY state.  This can help you find CISM teams after a major incident that might have you looking to conduct a debriefing.

I hope that you NEVER have to access the resources that I’ve mentioned, or other resources that you have in your department. However, you should always have quick access to the resources, should the time come that you do need.

I’d be interested in knowing what other resources you have at your fingertips.  Leave me a comment!

Until next time…stay safe and don’t forget to follow on twitter (@stickysidedwn)!

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