In mid-January, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) officially presented the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) group, whose mission and mandate is to provide employees with a support service when there is an abnormal crisis or emergency situation.

The stress of a critical incident is the reaction of a person or group, characterized by a variety of symptoms, in response to a traumatic or abnormal event in daily life. Symptoms can be cognitive, physical, emotional or behavioural. Stress can affect a person’s normal functioning as well as their recovery and rehabilitation mechanism.

Over the last few years, some 30 employees have completed the basic CISM training, and several others at the advanced level. The goal is to minimize the harmful effects of stress, to promote a healthy work environment and to direct people to other resources, if necessary. Confidentiality and respect are maintained at all times.

“This program is unique in the region and even across the Province of Ontario. We believe we can achieve this by using a network of qualified contacts who can provide rapid and adequate support,” explained Stéphane P. Parisien, Chief Administrative Officer of the UCPR. “The CISM team is not intended as a substitute for mental health professionals, but we believe that the educational and supportive process that the CISM group can provide is an important tool to alleviate the stress-related symptoms of a critical incident.”

The purpose of the launch was to inform employees and managers of the committee’s existence and its mandate to support them. In the same vein, the committee’s logo was unveiled, representing a visual symbol of the assistance available for employees. Those present took the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the program, as well as meet with CISM trainer John Robertson, psychologist Dr. Suzanne Filion, and Rubis, the therapeutic dog available to the UCPR.

The members of the CISM team are Mathieu Berthiaume, Alain Boisvert, Jérémie Bouchard, Christian Boudreau, Danyka Bougie, Renee Caouette, Carl Caron, Daniel Carrier, Marc Dewar, Manon Diotte, Marie-Claude Dupont, Martin Gascon, Elizabeth Gauthier, Daniel Lacelles, Marie-Claude Lafleur, Robert Lafrenière, Julie Larivière, Éric Larocque, Annick Lortie, Véronique Legault, Anne-Marie Millette, Sylvie Millette, Christine Nadeau, Marie-Christine Neilon, Julie Normand, Marc-André Périard, Mario Périard, Karine Perron, Jo-Anne Poirier, Sabrina Rodrigue, and Gisèle Roy.