NEW FY2021 Peer - Supported Critical Incident Stress Management Spring Grant Solicitation

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is soliciting applications from nonprofit organizations to provide post-critical incident seminars and peer-supported critical incident stress management programs to law enforcement agencies and their staffs.

Approximately, $200,000 in additional funding is being made available for programs because of the budget passed by the General Assembly. NOTE: The final budget has not been signed by the Governor at the time of this release.  

Law enforcement professionals are exposed to considerable daily stress and frequent critical incidents that can result in significant health issues. Critical incidents are events that are outside the normal human experience and may include shootings, severe injury, child deaths, suicides, civil unrest, and others. Post-traumatic stress in law enforcement officers who respond to such incidents may often be a by-product of these events.

Law enforcement peer support programs are recognized as an effective approach to provide assistance to officers to help them address the stress and challenges of their profession. Peer support programs can provide more awareness training to officers, improve access to and increase the effectiveness of existing resources, and help officers overcome their reluctance to seek help. To be effective, peer support programs should make participants feel that they are free to share their experiences and struggles among an accepting and supportive audience.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a method of helping first responders and others who have been involved in critical incidents who have become emotionally and/or physically affected by those incidents. CISM is a process that enables peers to help their peers understand problems that might occur after an event. This process also helps people prepare to continue to perform in their profession or in some cases return to a normal lifestyle.