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    Critical Incident Response2024-04-12T18:40:22+10:00

    Critical Incident Response

    The correct response to a traumatic event greatly affects long term well being.  Offering professional psychological assistance to your employees when they need it most is invaluable.

    We normally provide same day or next day on-site workplace support as well as ongoing care.

    Critical Incident Response Services

    We are an established Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Critical Incident Response (CIR) provider, giving your team access to comprehensive  trauma response services.

    OUR CRITICAL INCIDENT RESPONSE (CIR) SERVICE CAN OFFER:

    • immediate emotional support for the victims of a traumatic event in the workplace (onsite & offsite)
    • information sessions for staff on how to manage Acute Stress Response prevent PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress) after a critical incident in the workplace
    • short-term monitoring of affected staff for signs of stress related psychological injury
    • counselling for PTSD sufferers or staff affected by trauma or stress

    Whilst some occupations are more susceptible to traumatic experiences than others (for example police work or emergency response) – a traumatic event can take place in any workplace. We have the experience to respond and provide support to staff following a wide range of potentially traumatic events such as:

    • workplace injury or death

    • workplace suicide or suicide attempt
    • assault or abuse
    • robbery

    • serious illness or diagnosis of a colleague

    • violence, workplace conflict or fights
    • harassment

    We also work with unique employee groups who are at a heightened risk of stress, violence or vicarious trauma. For example people working in the funeral industry, people working in nightclubs or bars, emergency services and so on.

    Important Facts About Traumatic Injury
    • Early intervention is simple and cost effective.
      Initial support after a critical incident is normally limited to education, brief emotional support and ‘psychological first aid’. It is relatively cost effective. 
    • Delaying the offer of support can be costly.
      Delaying a mental health response and the offer of support and monitoring can lead to costly treatment down the track as people develop psychological injuries that could have been prevented.
    • The response to trauma varies greatly from person to person.
      Personal history and personal disposition are important factors in adjusting to stress. You won’t always know how a person is coping based on their outward behaviour or apparent personality. Often even ‘strong characters’ are vulnerable and hide this well leading to a greater risk of psychological injury, break down and the need for longer term compensation.
    • Traumatic stress injuries like PTSD develop some time after the actual event.
      Post traumatic stress can develop several months after a potentially traumatic event. Don’t assume everyone is ok just because people seem to be coping ok. People may be reluctant to reveal distress some time after the event and may try to minimise their symptoms to avoid shame and stigma in the workplace. This will usually make the psychological injury worse.
    • Unchecked and untreated, traumatic stress response can reduce employee well-being.
      This leads to lost productivity, higher long term claim costs and increased insurance premiums. Staff and business both loose out. It is therefore important for any organisation to have the capacity to respond swiftly to workplace trauma.

    In the first instance, it is important to be able to offer immediate support in the form of empathy and encouragement. A person who has been subjected to trauma may need simple acts of compassion from work colleagues, time off to recoup with family or friends, they might wish to talk about their experience, or they might need gentle assistance to ‘get back on the horse’.

    Of course, everyone responds to trauma in different ways, and not everyone who experiences trauma will go on to suffer from traumatic stress. It is nonetheless important for managers to be aware of some of the signs of post-traumatic stress so they can know what to watch out for.

    Symptoms of Trauma Related Psychological Injury

    Stress related conditions include common symptoms such as:

    • Unusual displays of irritability
    • Reduced workplace performance
    • Withdrawal from social activities or from interpersonal communication
    • Conflict with work colleagues
    • Increased intake of alcohol
    • Melancholy or other signs of depression
    • Changes in personality
    • Sleeping problems
    • Engaging in risky behavior or undertakings

    Note that some of these symptoms are also suggestive of more general job-related concerns such as poor workplace performance, interpersonal conflict, disagreements with management, or physical ailments. Our Employee Assistance Program can support affected staff, and their managers, to handle the impact of stress.

    In an environment where workplace stress claims are on the rise , today’s astute businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the value of a professional and responsive EAP provider. Call us today for immediate assistance.

    Frequently Asked Questions
    What is a Critical Incident Response (CIR)?2024-04-12T15:07:44+10:00

    A CIR is an immediate psychological first aid response to help support victims of a potentially traumatic incident in the workplace. This can be in the form of:

    • An on-site support session for an individual or a group, and/or
    • Telephone support for individuals.
    What are some examples of critical incidents in the workplace?2024-04-12T15:09:36+10:00

    A traumatic incident is anything that was unlikely or unexpected, not preventable or uncontrollable.
    This might include:

    • Experiencing or witnessing a serious accident, either during, outside of, or on the way to, work
    • Being verbally, physically or sexually assaulted
    • Other acts of violence (e.g. armed robbery)
    • Being threatened with physical harm
    • An unexpected death or suicide
    • Vicarious trauma (e.g., hearing or witnessing traumatic events)
    • Natural disasters such as bushfires or floods
    Why is getting support for staff following an incident important?2024-04-12T15:14:53+10:00

    Research suggests a CIR prevents Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from developing by helping staff understand and manage their Acute Stress Response shortly after a potentially traumatic incident. Best practice indicates a CIR should take place within the first few days or so after the incident. As such, Associated Employee Assistance will try to organise a response within 72 hours of being contacted, depending on the availability of our practitioner and your staff.

    Counselling sessions are a different service – they provide emotional support for a variety of concerns, but are not an immediate response which can be necessary in these circumstances. In addition, a counsellor tends to focus on treatment for resulting trauma or distress, rather than psychological first aid to prevent these effects from occurring.

    What happens during the CIR?2024-04-12T15:23:50+10:00

    During the session, our Critical Incident Response Practitioner will:

    • Find out what has occurred
    • Normalise the range and mix of emotional responses
    • Reduce distress and offer emotional support
    • Provide psycho-education around how a person can help themselves recover, as required
    • Monitor the wellbeing of staff using evidence-based tools and resources
    • Make recommendations for future support, if required
    How long is a CIR?2024-04-12T15:24:21+10:00

    The duration of the intervention depends on the size of the group and the nature of the incident, as well as the willingness of your staff to ask questions and engage in discussion. Typically, the group component runs for around 60 minutes, afterwhich our CIR practitioner will stay on site to administer more personal interventions to individuals.

    The extent to which individuals take up this option also depends on the nature of the incident, their relationship to it (or to the person or people involved affected by the incident), as well as a person’s own unique history and background, as all these things may impact a person’s emotional response to a potentially traumatic event.

    What is not included in the CIR?2024-04-12T15:25:43+10:00

    A CIR is not:

    • A debrief session – evidence suggests debriefing too close to a traumatic incident may be counterproductive to emotional wellbeing, both immediately and into the future
    • Counselling or treatment – staff should seek further assistance through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or privately to receive treatment for their mental health post-CIR. If a person does not return to normal functioning post-CIR, trauma counselling may be recommended to assist long term wellbeing.
    What if a particular employee requires immediate support before the group session?2024-04-12T15:26:17+10:00