ICISF World Congress Sessions

·      “Health & Wellness in the Dispatch Center” - Presented by Anne Daws-Lazar

Health and wellness of dispatchers is key to smooth running of any safety service agency.  But dispatchers are often neglected in this area.  They are expected to handle emergencies, always staying in the background and then quickly move on to the next emergency.  At the end of this day (literally) this can take a huge toll on dispatchers for a variety of reasons.  The events of the last year has only added to this stress.  My plan is to talk about ways dispatchers can take care of themselves with the goals being multiple: improved mental health and welling being for individuals which will lead to dispatchers being better equipped to have a long, happy and healthy career.

·      Psychological Body Armor during COVID-19 Pandemic: Resilience in CISM Responders” – Presented by Harvey Burnett

The purpose of this presentation is to share further evidence-based factors for building strong Psychological Body Armor (PBA) as posited by Everly (2017) through the proactive and reactive resilience pathways.  Everly defined PBA as a “unique form of human resilience” that consists of two essential pathways: proactive resilience (one’s immunity to crisis reactions) and reactive resilience (one’s ability to bounce back from adverse life experiences).  Burnett, Pichot and Bailey (2019) conducted an initial exploratory study on PBA on non-CISM responders, while Burnett (2020) examined PBA on a small sample of CISM responders.  Both studies were able to provide preliminary but encouraging support of PBA. Recently, Burnett and colleagues were able to improve and expand on their original PBA research, as well as provide validation for this distinctive form of human resilience.

·      “Understanding First Responder Cultures for Mental Health Professionals” - Presented by Dennis Potter

By taking the ICISF Helping Individuals and Group Crisis Intervention courses, we, as mental health professionals, have learned how to provide assistance to First Responders after a Critical Incident. But what if they seek our help with none crisis issues, do we treat them the same as we would any civilian who comes to us for help? The answer is a resounding NO!  As with any special group, we must take into consideration the "cultural issues" of the group and adjust our clinical interventions to acknowledge their difference.  This seminar is a quick look at some of the specifics of first responders and the cultures of their profession and some ideas on adapting our clinical interventions to meet their needs.

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