CISM Project Receives the ICISF Co-Founders Award

At the recent 11th World Congress on Stress, Trauma and Coping (ICISF), Baltimore, USA, the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team, Department of Psychology at NUI Maynooth, was awarded the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) ‘CoFounders’ Award for Collaborative Outreach in the Field of Crisis Intervention’. This was awarded in recognition of its “outstanding efforts to develop effective programmes to assist front line emergency services personnel throughout Ireland”.

Prof Jeff Mitchell, co-Founder icisF; ms Sharon Gallagher, principal investigator, 
Department of Psychology, Nui Maynooth; Prof George Everly, co-Founder icisF and ms 
Mairead Bracken, research assistant, Department of Psychology, Nui Maynooth.

Professor Jeff Mitchell, co-founder of the ICISF, presented the award to Ms Sharon Gallagher, the Principal Investigator on the National Ambulance Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Project, on behalf of the Department. Professor Mitchell stated that the Department of Psychology at NUI Maynooth “has reached out to a wide range of organisations and universities in Ireland, Europe and the United States in its efforts to enhance the world’s knowledge of emergency personnel and to develop effective programmes to assist frontline personnel.”
The CISM Project was commissioned by the National Ambulance Service CISM Committee in 2007 and is funded by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) and the Health Services National Partnership Forum. The CISM team at NUI Maynooth, comprises Sharon Gallagher, Principal Investigator, Ms Mairead Bracken, Research Assistant/Doctoral student and Dr Sinéad McGilloway, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Mental Health and Social Research Unit. Sharon Gallagher is a former employee of PHECC and completed her MLitt in Psychology at NUI Maynooth in 2005 under the supervision of Dr McGilloway. 

Sharon and Mairead also co-presented an interesting workshop at the World Congress entitled Views and Experiences of an Ambulance Peer Support Service in Ireland. 
  The findings of this study indicated that peer support can serve a protective function for emergency personnel and enhance their coping capacities. 

All members of the NUIM CISM team are also involved in working with, and actively promoting the work of CISM Network Ireland, which is based in the Department of Psychology. 

CISM Network Ireland provides a forum for the promotion and exchange of best practice information on CISM and information on standards, availability and provision of training for CISM. The Network is run by an inter-agency National Steering Committee (NSC) comprising the NUIM CISM team as well as a wide range of representatives from the north and south of Ireland, including statutory, voluntary, emergency, military, and other agencies.

This award acknowledges the hard work and dedication of the NUIM CISM programme team and the National Ambulance CISM Committee with whom they have a longstanding collaborative relationship. It is also important to note that this work was only made possible through the generous funding provided by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council and the Health Services National Partnership Forum, as well as the continued support of CISM Network Ireland.

Synopsis of the CISM Guide

  • Nature of stress
  • What is stress?
  • Stress paths
  • PTSD and contributing factors
  • Sources of stress
  • Signs of stress
  • Dangerous signs of stress
  • Stress survival skills

  • Stress control for life
    • Diet
    • Exercise
    • Smoking
    • Positive mental attitude
    • Spirituality
    • Relaxation
    • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • The satisfying side of stress
  • Conditions requiring professional assistance

  • Guided Imagery
  • A life beyond the job
  • Limited self-disclosure
  • False stress cures