“There is no higher honor than to be given the responsibility to care for another human being.”

- Richard K. Schachner

Two Quick Steps Before You Take an Assignment

Step One:

Before leaving, stop for a self-inventory. Look at yourself in the mirror. What does your face say about what has just happened? How will that communicate to the people you are about to serve. Read More

Step Two

Don't forget to be grateful for CISM. Having been given this gift, we must make sure we are doing it with the highest level of integrity, respect, expertise, and care.

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Be Mindful of Role Boundaries

Role boundaries define a professional relationship and create clarity, safety, and predictability for the individual and the peer supporter. These boundaries limit the interactions between the individual and the peer supporter (who is not a therapist) for a beneficial relationship. Finding the right peer for the right situation is crucial to success and not causing harm. Read More

When the peer supporter has a connection to the individuals outside of the peer-to-peer interaction, dual roles can be present. The individuals receiving assistance may not feel comfortable and "safe" and may be concerned that confidentiality is at risk.

For this reason, the CISM Coordinator and CIPS Group Leader must provide peer support only between individuals who do not know each other or are at least familiar with them but are not close friends, associates, or colleagues. Finding peers from other areas who have received the same training is often helpful.

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Compassion Fatigue and Burnout

Because of the nature of the work that revolves around death, injury, and trauma, CISM personnel and others who assist after a critical incident may be especially vulnerable to adverse effects. These effects may affect CISM Coordinators, CIPS Group Leaders, Peer Supporters, Mental Health Professionals, Serious Accident Investigation Teams, and Facilitated Learning Analysis groups. In addition, the long hours and travel times, hearing about tragedy and human suffering, and coordination with multiple entities, many of whom are in crisis, contribute to compassion fatigue and or burnout. Read More

CISM Coordinator Tool-Box

CIPS Groups Leader and Peer Supporters

Roles and Responsibilities

Taking Care of Yourself

Their work will transform CISM personnel. The way helpers understand and experience the world and themselves is changed as they enter into the world of the trauma survivor. While trauma work can be significant and rewarding, it can also be challenging and painful. The changes helpers experience in their identities, world views, and spirituality affect both the helpers' professional relationships and colleagues' and personal relationships. Read More

Additional Information

International Critical Incident Stress Foundation

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National Alliance on Mental Illness

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American Telepsychology Association

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» Center for Disease Control

Other Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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Treatment Referral Service


Free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service.

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Veterans Crisis Line



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Bureau of Indian Affairs
Branch of Wildland Fire Management

3833 South Development Avenue t malesuada Boise, ID 83705

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