Medical Staff Portal
Clinical Support Services

Critical Incident Stress Management

Covenant Health provides timely access to Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) resources to help staff achieve emotional health related to a critical incident. The Covenant Health CISM team responds to staff requests for assistance by providing emotional support related to traumatic events encountered during, or associated with, the course of work. CISM is a program within Mission, Ethics and Spirituality at Covenant Health. If you have any questions about the service - please call: Director, Mission & Spirituality at 1.780.735.2644.

The CISM team maintains the confidentiality of events and participants. If you are feeling overwhelmed, support is available. Call the CISM line at 1.780.735.9000. Your call will be kept confidential.

What is the Critical Incident Stress Management Team?

The CISM team is made up of peer-support staff and mental health professionals trained to provide support to individuals and groups who are experiencing stress due to a critical incident. The team is on-call 24/7

What is Critical Incident Stress?

Critical incident stress is caused by any incident where there is stressful impact that overwhelms your usual coping skills. Critical incident stress may be immediate, delayed, or accumulated over time.

What Are Some Examples of Critical Incidents?

Many events can cause unusually strong emotional reactions including:

  • Traumatic events involving children
  • An unexpected death of a patient
  • An event where you or a colleague feels threatened
  • A suicide
  • Injury or death of a coworker 
  • Prolonged events 
  • Multiple casualty incidents 
  • Disasters

Regardless of what the incident is, if you are feeling an unusual level of stress, you can call CISM.

How Will the CISM Team Support Me?

The CISM team will be supportive and talk with you in a caring, non-judgmental way. Everything is kept confidential. Once you have contacted the team, they will work with you to assess your needs and provide appropriate support. This may include:

  • One-on-one discussions in person or by phone
  • Group discussions, which often take place on the day of the incident
  • Group debriefings, which often take place within several days of the incident
  • Follow up

How Will I Know if I Am Feeling Unusual Stress?

Some signs that you and/or your colleagues are being affected by a critical incident can include:

  • Excessive crying or sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating and being easily distracted
  • Flashbacks about the event
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feelings of guilt, fear, distrust and irritability

These and other signs are normal reactions to an abnormal event. When you acknowledge these stress reactions and share them through discussion, there is a greater opportunity to make peace with your feelings and the incident.

What Can I Do to Help Myself?

  • Be aware of your feelings, thoughts and behaviours
  • Be open and patient - don't judge yourself
  • Reduce other sources of stress in your life for a while
  • Take time to talk about your physical and emotional reactions
  • Exercise within 24 hours of the incident
  • Be aware of not trying to numb the pain with the use of alcohol and drugs
  • Treat yourself to what makes you feel good and what is good for you
  • Know that recurrent thoughts, dreams, and flashbacks are normal

Questions/Contact Information

Covenant Health CISM Team is available 24/7. Any Covenant Health employee or physician can call: 1.780.735.9000  

Application Forms

Application Form
Reference Letter
CISM Fact Sheet


CISM Brochure
CISM Information Poster
Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
Critical Incident Stress Management Policy
Spiritual Care