If you have an immediate crisis and require urgent help, please call 911 first, then:
  • Please read this page before calling us.
  • Then contact us through your regular EAP access number, or call our Clinical Manager at 888-392-0050.
  • If you reach VoiceMail and your call is urgent, please select the option to speak with someone immediately, and ask that an Account Manger be paged.

Inevitably, some form of crisis impacts the workplace at some point. When that happens, EAP stands ready to support and assist the organization as it copes with the situation.

Typical critical incidents may include any of the following:

  • Injury or death of an employee
  • Violent event at workplace
  • Natural disaster

Critical incidents that have occurred at the worksite often have direct impact on employees (as first-hand witnesses to an event). When these are the factors, a research based intervention known as a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) may be implemented by EAP. CISDs are one component of a series of interventions in the continuum of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM).

CISDs are gatherings of the impacted employees, and are typically conducted 72 hours post-event. It is important to understand that an effective intervention requires this timing and planning. When an event has just occurred it is quite difficult to pull all parties together to meet in a meaningful way. People are reeling, and many choose to seek their own supports – their families, friends outside of work – and may retreat briefly from the worksite, or simply be in shock and not able to benefit from a CISD until a few days later.

Even though the CISD itself may come a bit later, there are immediate ways EAP can help. Here is what to do when the organization has sustained a critical incident:

Call EAP immediately. One of the best ways EAP can begin to help is by listening to all of the information regarding the situation. EAP can directly support the management/HR caller reporting the incident and assess the situation to see what is needed. EAP will help the caller make an action plan, which may include the following:

  • How an organizational leader can make a brief announcement or email addressing the matter, reassuring staff, and reminding them that they can call EAP for individual support 24/7
  • Whether an EAP representative is needed to do a defusing – a very brief meeting to relay what has happened to as many people as can attend, with reminders of how to take care of themselves and to use the EAP
  • Whether the workers should be allowed to leave work (if appropriate) or how to adjust the workday to maintain operations yet allow people some decompressing opportunities
  • EAP provision of handouts and information that may be helpful to distribute to employees
  • Preliminary planning for CISD. As mentioned above, CISD will typically be planned for 72 hours post-event, allowing for optimum scheduling so that as many people can attend as desired.

If it is after hours or on a weekend when an incident occurs, call the toll free EAP line. The counselor will take down any and all information you wish to provide. That will be relayed to the EAP Management Team for action on the next business day, and a return call to you will follow the outline as above.

There are other crisis events that may affect a workplace, and while they would not be appropriate for a CISD, they may require a thoughtful response plan. These non-CISD crisis situations may include:

  • Critically ill colleague / family member
  • Non-employee death that impacts those in workplace
  • Non-workplace event: a community crisis situation that impacts those in workplace
  • Downsizing / layoffs
  • National / global event that impacts those in workplace

Because these types of events do not include a direct worksite or first-hand witness component, the EAP response would be tailored to fit the needs of the situation. Again, the first step would be for an HR or management leader to contact EAP and discuss the situation in order to plan a helpful response.