A critical incident is any situation that causes a person to experience unusually strong stress reactions that the person perceives as disturbing or disabling.
Critical Incident Stress: A state of cognitive, physical, emotional and behavioral arousal that accompanies the crisis reaction. The elevated state of arousal is caused by a critical incident. If not managed and resolved appropriately, either by oneself or with assistance, it may lead to several psychological disorders including Acute Stress Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Attacks, Depression, Abuse of Alcohol and Other Drugs, etc.
Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is the structured assistance for a normal reaction to an abnormal event. It describes the human reaction to critical incidents - any situation faced for example by a controller, which causes him or her to experience unusual strong emotional reactions. All CISM activity aims to moderate the impact of Critical Incident Stress and to speed up the return to the pre-incident phase.
All CISM activity aims to moderate the impact of Critical Incident Stress and to speed up the return to the pre-incident phase. CISM exists to mitigate the normal, usually negative, emotions and thoughts, which result from critical events occurring in the work environment. In doing so CISM facilitates a more rapid return to the ‘normal' functioning and thus has benefits for the individual and for the organisation in which they work.