Critical incident and trauma response support

Critical incidents or traumatic events in the workplace, such as death or suicide, physical assault or traffic accidents, are unexpected experiences that go beyond the normal course of business. Even after these events are over, they can threaten feelings of safety across an organization, often causing strong physical and emotional reactions. These reactions are short-term stress responses, and each individual team member may experience them differently based on factors such as:
• their characteristics or background.
• the presence of mental health conditions.
• previous exposure to traumatic events.
For team members who have experienced a critical incident or traumatic event while on the job, the care and support of leaders and their peers can make all the difference, resulting in less disruption to normal day-to-day functioning.

How we can help

Manitoba Blue Cross offers support to organizations that are faced with the aftershocks of critical incidents or traumatic events in the workplace. This includes consultation services, response planning and structured debriefings in a group or one-to-one setting.
Since all organizations are unique and no two events are the same, we tailor a response that fits the organization’s culture, as well as addresses the logistical challenges that can be present in any given crisis. Our overriding goal is to support the recovery process for employees impacted and restore organizational stability through a caring and supportive environment.

Contact us

If you’re interested in this service, please call us at 204.786.8880 or toll free at 1.800.590.5553. For the Deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired community, our EA centre can receive VRS calls. You may also click on the button below to contact us.
How do I seek support for my team if a critical incident or traumatic event occurs at my workplace?

If a critical incident or traumatic event occurs at your workplace, please call our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) intake line at 204.786.8880 or toll free at 1.800.590.5553 to receive an immediate response. For the Deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired community, our EA centre can receive VRS calls.

How quickly can my team receive support after a critical incident or traumatic event?

During the initial consultation, we’ll work with you to identify an appropriate response time, considering the level of urgency, your team’s availability, preferred delivery format and other practical factors. Since every situation is unique and the needs of each group differ, response times vary from within hours to one week.

What are the benefits of participating in a debriefing after a critical incident or traumatic event?

Critical incidents and traumatic events can cause a stress response. While this is usually short-term, it may result in prolonged disruption of day-to-day functioning if not resolved. Offering a debriefing following a difficult event supports impacted team members’ recovery through a structured debriefing and psycho-educational process. The availability of supportive resources following an event also reinforces care and investment in your team’s psychological well-being.

Where can debriefings take place?

Debriefings can occur in person or through online video; the format most appropriate for your group will be determined during the initial consultation.

In-person debriefings are conducted on-site at your preferred location. A private room with chairs in a circle or similar configuration is recommended, allowing participants to interact with one another and the facilitator.

Are members of leadership recommended to attend a debriefing?

While leaders play an essential role in supporting their team during and after a critical incident or traumatic event, it’s often not required for leadership to attend a group debriefing unless they were directly involved in and impacted by the event. Since every situation is unique, we will work with you to determine whether your presence at a debriefing is recommended and how to best support your team members, even if you’re not in attendance. 

What size are the debriefing groups?

Group sizes vary. We will work with you to determine who should be invited to a debriefing and whether or not a team should be split into more than one debriefing group. This will be based on each team member’s exposure to the incident and their level of involvement. We recommend that groups be made up of individuals with the same or similar levels of exposure to the event. For example, we would not recommend an individual who heard about an event after it was over to be included in the same debriefing group as someone who was present at the event.

Do you offer individual support?

Yes. When deemed appropriate through the initial consultation, we can provide individual support to team members following a group debriefing.

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