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The Valley Hospital
223 N. Van Dien Avenue
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team


As defined by Dr. Jeffrey Mitchell, a critical incident is "any situation faced by personnel that causes them to experience unusually strong emotional reactions which have the potential to interfere with their ability to function." In short: It evokes normal reactions from normal people to abnormal events.

Examples of when to activate the CISM Team:

  • Any incident that is charged with profound emotion
  • Any incident in which the circumstances were so unusual or distressing as to produce a high level of immediate or delayed emotional reaction
  • Death of staff member, staff member's family, or long-term patient(s)
  • Serious line of duty or workplace injury
  • Suicide or other unexpected death of a co-worker or co-worker's family member
  • Mass casualty incidents
  • Events that threaten the lives of responders

Mission Statement:
The CISM Team serves Valley Health System employees and the local community by providing debriefing, defusing, and individual/group intervention when activated by management or local organizations. The focus of this service is to minimize the harmful effects stemming from critical incidents.

We are distinguished by our commitment to:

  • Maintain confidentiality and integrity.
  • Respond exclusively to appropriate activations.
  • Provide participants with referral resources.
  • Promote and enhance self-care for healthcare providers, first responders, eyewitnesses, etc.

Vision Statement:
The CISM Team will provide employees of Valley Health System and the local community with peer support services. Our trained team possesses core competencies in keeping with ICISF guidelines.

Values Statement:

C: Confidentiality and Compassion
I: In the spirit of service
S: Support & Self-Care
M: Maintain optimal productivity and performance when critical incidents arise

It is not the function of the team to replace ongoing professional counseling, but to provide immediate crisis intervention. Through the crisis support process, the team provides healthcare and emergency personnel with the tools and resources to reduce stress related symptoms.

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