Counseling and Psychological Services
March 01, 2015


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Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISMT)

History of the CISMT at UTPA

In the Fall of 2000, the university began looking at what protocols were available to the university and community in the event of a major critical incident. After assessing the need for an organization to address possible critical incidents, a group of university officials underwent formal training and certification in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). From this, the University of Texas - Pan American's CISM team was established. Today, CISMT has grown and is comprised of staff, faculty, and administrators

What is a Critical Incident?

A critical incident is any event that occurs outside the realm of usual human experience, which evokes markedly distressing reactions such as intense fear, helplessness, and horror. Examples of some critical incidents include auto accidents, sudden or unexpected death, sexual assault, violent crimes, suicide, homicide, or any life-threatening event to self, or the observance of the above mentioned. Critical incidents can also result from natural or man-made disasters such as fire, flood, earthquake, tornado, hurricane, terrorism, community disaster, or hostage situation.

What is CISM?

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a comprehensive, integrated, multi-component crisis intervention program that requires the assistance of mental health professionals and emergency/high risk workers. CISM, with goals of crisis stabilization and mitigation of symptoms associated with trauma, has become the worldwide standard of care for intervening in critical incidents. Whether in the community, occupational settings, or on an individual basis, CISM is a powerful approach in responding to a crisis.

What is a CISMT?

The Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISMT) is composed of university staff, faculty, and administration volunteers who are involved in one or several activities of critical incident stress management. CISMT members will be involved in demobilization, defusing, debriefing, intervention, family support, follow-up and referral, professional support service delivery, or general support services delivery. University employees who are interested in volunteering on the team need not have specialized crisis intervention training; members are needed and welcomed in all capacities and skill levels. If you would like more information regarding the CISMT, please contact the director of Counseling and Psychological Services at (956) 665-2574 or e-mail at counseling@utpa.edu. See the list of current CISM Team members.

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