Critical Incident Stress Peer Support Team



Critical Incident Stress Peer Support Team

Doug Hyde, Jim Fry, Michael Duncan, Dr. David Hoath, Ted Bober, M.S.W., Dr. Martin Rappeport, Michael A. Kindree, Daniel Raymond Shoebottom, Ian Anderson, Steve Aubry, Darren Bishop, Tim Caddel, Nancy Checko, Cindy Coles, Dave Cowan, Michael Durocher, Julie A. Foster, Art Gamble, Jim Greenwood, Irene Grusys, John Haagsma, Catherine L. Hall, Ron Hartford, Joan L. Hubay, Jennifer L. Hughes, Greg Kirkland, Vishnu Kowlessar, Tom Mates, Brian Morrison, Kathy Sauvé, Scott Thomas, Wayne A. Thompson, Craig Todd, Inga D.Umscheid, John van Geene, Louisa M. Vatri-Norris, Dave Arbour, Ron G. Baldwin, Tom Ball, Allan Barber, Bruce Bateman, Gail M. Beaver, Lynn Alary, Joanne Brown, W. Pat Brown, George Bruemmer, Marcel Brunelle, Connie L. Buck, Ross Chessell, Dianne Corbett, Marion R. Dennis, Katherine E. A. Dodge, Dave Edmonds, Wayne Fiset, Dale Flieler, Toni Frisby, Greg Gillespie, Liz Glover, Michael L. Hart, Al Hyde, Louise Larocque, Malcolm MacDonald, Paul Malaguti, Terry Matz, Bryan Merritt, Wilma Miyasaki, Mike Monzon, Wayne Ross, Rusty Rustenburg, Franca Dignem, Brian Schulz, R. David Scott, Mark Shoreman, Dan Smith, Jeff Ward, Peter Dawson, Ken Zubricki, Mike Veniot, Roger Weber, Doreen Whatley and Bill Tye.

For Compassion, Professionalism and Integrity in Supporting Your Co-workers Across the Ministry of Natural Resources

The Critical Incident Stress Peer Support Program started in 1992 when two major incidents occurred. At that time there was no MNR program in place to assist staff to understand what they were experiencing from the incidents. On both occasions MNR was assisted by the OPP Peer Support Program. Following these events, there was consensus with senior staff, bargaining agents and staff to secure a program tailored to our needs. Since this date, peer supporters have been recruited and trained in 1993, 1994, 1997, 2001 and most recently in 2006. Peer Supporters are volunteers that provide support to MNR staff and immediate family who have been involved in a crisis by providing timely, effective and confidential support. Peer supporters provide a linkage, if necessary, to long-term services offered by the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or other health service providers. Peer supporters contribute to a healthy workplace. The foundation of the program is confidentiality and in all the years of the program that has never been breached. This demonstrates the respect, integrity and professionalism of all the peer supporters past and present that have been involved with the program.

Peer supporters receive annual training and the program is supported by a mental health professional working with the MNR Program Coordinator. How do these supporters give generously of their time in supporting their colleagues and others? The fundamental foundation of the program is the fact that all of these individuals provide their services on a volunteer basis. All have other jobs and functions within our organization however, find the time and compassion to support their co-workers during periods of critical incidents such as tragic accidents and events that may involve trauma, serious injury and death. Following a tragic event Peer Supporters in a professional and confidential manner offer their services where necessary. There are numerous examples that I could provide that would support this nomination however one of the foundations of the program is confidentiality. By means of a few generalities I will try to demonstrate how generous our peer supporters are:

Staff can face critical events involving their peers and the public. In some cases staff will respond to fatalities or serious injuries. In these cases staff will need to deal with the injured and the families involved. Following these events, staff may experience a range of emotions that are all normal reactions when dealing with these types of matters. It is in these situations that peers (many that have experienced similar types of situations) can listen and assist staff in communicating their feelings. In specific cases assistance can be given to link staff to health care professionals.

Another example can be within a workplace where our staff can experience the loss of a co-worker. In these cases, peer supporters can arrange for grief counselling to assist their peers in dealing with normal emotions associated with such a loss.

In other cases, it may just be a call from an individual to a peer supporter asking for to guidance on how to articulate the feelings they may have around a particular event or situation within the workplace. In these situations, a phone call and a trained listener can assist staff in formulating their thoughts and emotions. This can make a significant difference in person’s well being and in the workplace.

The important element to recognize in all of these examples is that the peer supporters annually do this work in a quiet, professional and confidential manner with no expectation of recognition. This is about peers caring about peers and making a difference in the lives of each other.