Critical Incident Response

Table of Contents

Provider of Critical Incident Response

As your EAP provider, Gryphon Psychology is here to assist in the event of sudden events that are traumatic or otherwise impactful to the workforce.  We pride ourselves on providing Critical Response that is reliable, rapid, and industry leading. 

Organisations should consider likely impacts of its decision to provide or not provide an active psychological response to a Critical Incident. These Include: 

  • Duty of Care and legal liability 
  • Impact on employee morale and organisational culture
  • Reputational damage

What is a Critical Incident?

A critical incident is a sudden and/or unexpected event or series of events which has the potential to significantly impact an individual or group’s physical, emotional or psychological wellbeing.   

A traumatic event can interfere with a person’s ability to function normally, during or post incident. 

Critical incidents can include (but are not limited to):

  • Accidents – with or without injury
  • Suicide of a family member, friend or colleague
  • Being a victim of, or witness to a crime
  • Death or injury to family, friend or colleague
  • Natural disasters
  • Relationship or financial problems
  • Threat to one’s life
  • Redundancy or workplace change
  • “Near misses”
  • Serious illness
  • Human-made disasters
  • Loss of loved ones
  • Loss of home
  • Loss of livelihood

A Critical Incident can be technological, ecological, or human occurrences.  They are often overwhelming, threatening, frightening, unsafe and psychologically protracted.  A person can be consciously unaware of the long-term effects of a Critical Incident during and immediately after the incident, thus Critical Incident Response is crucial.

Potential Impacts of a Critical Incident: 

Involvement in, or exposure to, abnormal workplace incidents can lead a person to experience distress. It is normal to react emotionally to a critical incident.

Common reactions during and after a Critical Incident include: 

  • Shock
  • Disbelief 
  • Shakiness
  • Numbness
  • Nausea 
  • Confusion 
  • Palpitations / Rapid Breathing 
  • Intense Fear 
  • Anger 
  • Social withdrawal 
  • Anxiety 
  • Flashbacks 
  • Sleeplessness

Fortunately, most people will recover well from critical incident events by drawing upon their existing resources, engaging in known, familiar coping strategies, and staying connected with personal supports. For some people though, a traumatic event can lead to ongoing mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a common misconception that individuals can develop PTSD immediately after an event. In fact, a diagnosis of PTSD cannot be made unless a person has been experiencing severe and debilitating symptoms for a prolonged period (more than one month). To help reduce the risk of someone experiencing ongoing mental health concerns, it’s important that impacted individuals are provided with active support and information to aid the natural recovery process.

What is Critical Incident Response (CIR)?

Critical Incident Response is immediate action-based response to deploy a clinician to site and / or actively encourage EAP referral, rapidly, during or immediately after a Critical Incident. 

Critical Incident Response helps workers deal with emotional reactions that may result from involvement in or exposure to unusual workplace incidents.

Each critical incident is unique and therefore the type of support undertaken will be different for each event. Your EAP plays a key, strategic and expert role in supporting the organisation to ensure an adequate psychological response is provided.

Critical Incident Response includes but is not limited to: 

  • Assessing the level of response required and ongoing support needs Supporting you to assess and prioritise individuals/ groups/teams in need of support 
  • Go with company representative to notify next of kin in the event of fatality Sharing their expertise with the coordination team in regard to meeting the psychological needs of those affected 
  • Supporting leaders to prepare for group briefings or notifications.
  • Helping key representative/s to prepare for the interactions they will have with next of kin and/or family. 
  • Compiling a list of names who the company wishes to provide special approval to for EAP access (e.g., contractors or extended family members who may wish to access counselling support) 
  • Be present at group meetings as a “face” of the EAP Presenting brief information at meetings (e.g., overview of common reactions, how to access support and reaffirm the benefits of seeking help) 
  • Providing hard copy or soft copy information sheets/ material
  • Coaching leaders on how they can support their team members, including on how to be a “bridge” towards accessing formal support Reviewing and providing feedback on draft internal communications 
  • Providing advice about immediate and ongoing fitness for work considerations 
  • Debriefing with the coordination team after the event about the effectiveness of the response and potential areas for improvement

What is the Gryphon Psychology Process for Critical Incidents?

  • 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • An initial response within minutes.
  • Appointment of dedicated Critical Incident Coordinator 
  • Rapid deployment of CIR-trained clinical staff to site and full follow-up, documentation and reporting.
  • Expert consultancy support, from the initial call through to the follow up process of incident management.

How to initiate Critical Incident Response?

In the event of an incident, please call 1800 056 076 for immediate response.

If the incident occurs outside business hours, your call will be answered by an afterhours on call service. You will be asked to leave your name and contact number. The Gryphon Psychology on-duty Clinician will return your call within minutes.

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