Centerstone to Host International Conference on Critical Incident Stress Management

ICISF Founder Highlights Conference as Keynote Speaker

Nashville, Tenn.
— An international conference slated for Nashville on September 19-22 will provide companies, first responders and mental health professionals with guidelines and tactics for crisis situations.

Sponsored jointly by Centerstone’s Crisis Management Strategies (CMS) program of Nashville and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) of Ellicott City, Maryland, the conference will feature classes by Jeffery T. Mitchell, Ph.D., CTS, president of ICISF.

Mitchell is a Clinical Professor of Emergency Health Services at the University of Maryland. He developed the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) model, which is utilized by over 300 communities throughout the United States and in five nations.

The event will be held at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

CMS is a specialized program of Centerstone, the largest non-profit behavioral healthcare provider in Middle Tennessee with 59 facilities in 28 counties. ICISF is a non-profit, open membership foundation dedicated to the prevention and mitigation of disabling stress through education, training and support. ICISF also focuses on continuing education and training in emergency mental health services and assists in establishing crisis and disaster response programs for various organizations throughout the world.

A critical incident has the potential to result in psychological distress and an impairment of normal adaptive functioning. Examples of a critical incidents include: accidents, explosions, fires, hostage situations, robberies, natural disasters, assaults and/or sudden death.

“Many people who were involved directly with the aftermath of September 11th are still suffering symptoms caused by that critical incident, even though it occurred one year ago,” said Larry Edwards, Ph.D., CTS, Director of Centerstone’s Crisis and Referral Services. “This conference will not only assist people in understanding the dynamics of critical incident stress, it will also train them to manage situations in the workplace, implementing the skills they learn.”

Individuals involved in a critical incident often report a common core of symptoms, generally referred to as Critical Incident Stress. Some of the more common signs include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Intense Anger
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Sleep Problems
  • Suspiciousness
  • Poor Problem Solving
  • Grief

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a structured educational and intervention process that focuses on mitigating the impact of a critical incident, reducing the chances of long-term psychological symptoms.

The four-day conference will inform and teach CISM theories and practices to professionals working in the fields of mental health crisis intervention, trauma medicine, emergency response services and large-scale disaster mental health relief services. CISM is also a means of early detection for individuals who may be in need of more serious professional mental health services following a traumatic or highly stressful incident.

The conference consists of two, two-day training sessions each focusing on CISM principals. Session topics include: group crisis intervention; domestic terrorism and weapons of mass destruction; trauma and substance abuse; crisis response for schools; preventing youth violence and CISM strategies for law enforcement. Most courses offered at the conference meet the qualifications for continuing education credit for psychologists, employee assistance professionals, nurses and EMT’s.

About CMS

Founded in October of 2001, CMS offers a variety of services customized to meet the needs of business professionals. The program’s services combine classroom education with hands-on training and are customized to meet the needs of executives, management, employees and customers. CMS’s areas of expertise include CISM training, employee and workplace readiness evaluations, crisis communication planning and post-incident care.


Founded in 1989, the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Inc. is a non profit, open membership foundation dedicated to the prevention and mitigation of disabling stress through the provision of: education, training and support services for all Emergency Services Professionals; continuing education and training in Emergency Mental Health Services for Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers and Licensed Professional Counselors; and consultation in the establishment of Crisis and Disaster Response Programs for varied organizations and communities worldwide. Visit www.icsf.org for more information.