Critical Incident Stress Management team ready to help individuals and groups affected by COVID-19 pandemic

October 5, 2020

Whether it is trying to stay physically distant – while socially connected, finding ways to keep our children involved in activities and education, or businesses changing the way they reach customers, all Alaskans are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coping with these changes has led to responses and situations that can be characterized as critical incidents.

At  ANTHC, the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team, comprised of trained staff and behavioral health providers, supports the mental health and well-being of our people and communities by offering behavioral health consultation services. Individuals, groups, and clinical staff affiliated with the Alaska Tribal Health System are eligible for CISM team services.

Feeling easily agitated, frustrated, moody, or overwhelmed are all signs of cumulative stress. Headaches, sleep difficulty and appetite changes can be physical signs. Many people feel as if they are “riding the edges” of their usual coping strategies and need new ideas to cope. Seeking support from an outside resource expands opportunities to learn new coping tools and can be the bolster a person or a community needs through challenging times.

“Like a critical incident, the buildup of stress over time [cumulative stress] can lead to worse mental and physical health, changes in relationships, drop in performance at school or work, and loss of an individual’s ability to cope with challenging or difficult times,” said Rebecca Robinson, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist with ANTHC Behavioral Health.

CISM team members use a flexible support process which they adapt to the needs of the individuals or groups requesting support. Sessions are private and confidential via phone or video conferencing.

In these sessions, participants are provided with the space to discuss their needs, vent about stressors, and find answers to questions they might have about coping skills or accessing resources. Group sessions can be conducted multiple times, every few weeks or months as either a check-in or follow-up.

Why does ANTHC provide this service?

We know through experience and research that people benefit from immediate and carefully presented support while they are going through difficult circumstances. When we utilize crisis intervention principles and procedures as well as trained interventionists, we help reduce stress and help individuals reset or strengthen their normal recovery process.

When contacting the ANTHC CISM team, please provide:

  1. Your name
  2. How we can help: individual or group support session
  3. Preferred contact: phone number and/or email address

To learn more or schedule a CISM session call 729-8250 or email CISMteam

For more reading on CISM, check out our story published story in ADN here: ‘You’re not alone’: Helping employees cope with crises.

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