What is crisis intervention?
A crisis debrief is a process of reviewing and analyzing the response to a crisis or emergency. The goal of a crisis debrief is to identify strengths and weaknesses in the response and to make improvements for future crises. Transitions4Life, LLC also uses crisis debriefing as an opportunity to emotionally support all impacted staff involved by externalizing and normalizing their acute stress and duress.
Key elements of a crisis debrief
1. Timing: A debrief should take place as soon as possible after the crisis to ensure that details are fresh in the minds of those involved.
2. Participants: A debrief should involve all relevant stakeholders, including those who were directly involved in the response and those who played supporting roles.
3. Agenda: A debrief should have a clear agenda that includes a review of what went well, what could have been improved, and what supports does individuals need to stabilize and recover.
4. Facilitation: A debrief should be facilitated by a neutral third party who can ensure that all participants have the opportunity to speak freely and honestly.
Transitions4Life, LLC’s mental health crisis response
1. Assessing the situation: Mental health professionals must quickly assess the group’s mental state and the severity of the crisis to determine the appropriate response.
2. Establishing rapport: Mental health professionals must establish rapport with the group to gain their trust and help them feel safe and supported.
3. Ensuring safety: Mental health professionals must take steps to ensure the group feels safe to express positive and negative feelings regarding the incident.
4. Providing immediate care: Mental health professionals must provide immediate care, providing group and/or individual counseling or therapy and referring the individuals to a higher level of care, if appropriate.
5. Developing a long-term plan: Mental health professionals will encourage the client organization to develop a long-term plan to ensure that the impacted individuals receive ongoing emotional support and advocate for the allocation of resources the assist with mitigating vicarious trauma and staff burnout.
6. Action items: A debrief should identify specific action items for improvement and assign responsibility for implementing them.
The debrief process should include a thorough review of the crisis response, including the communication, decision-making, and coordination processes. It should also include an examination of the emotional impact of the crisis on those involved and recommendations for addressing any resulting stress or trauma.
By conducting a crisis debrief, organizations can learn from their experiences and make improvements to their crisis management plans. This can help to ensure that they are better prepared for future crises and can respond more effectively to protect the safety and well-being of their stakeholders. By conducting a crisis debrief, organizations humanize their workforce and validate their experience and feelings as they process tragedy and/or loss.