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Looking after your staff after traumatic incidents is both morally justified and, after work-related traumatic incidents, legally necessary. Additionally, it makes sound economic sense to avoid the loss of valuable personnel to the effects of psychological trauma. Previous reactive single session models of post-incident interventions, such as Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, or CISD, have been subjected to scientific scrutiny and shown to not just lack effectiveness, but also to have the potential to do harm.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), the UK body which sanctions medical interventions, has issued guidance on the management of post traumatic illnesses. At the core of the guidelines is the principle of ‘not making a meal’ of normal levels of post incident distress. For most individuals, distress is not a medical problem and does not need complex interventions. NICE suggests that for the first month after an incident, a policy of watchful waiting should be employed, with individuals who have been exposed to the event. This does not just mean those who were ‘there’ but also those who might feel responsible; those who might have been on a radio line or those who had to help with the aftermath.

TRiM is a ‘NICE-compliant’ model of peer group traumatic stress management which aims to foster high levels of organisational resilience. Although TRiM began within the Royal Marines Commandos, many other non-military organisations now use TRiM including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; media organisations including the BBC and the emergency services including the London Ambulance Service and numerous UK police forces. The TRiM model bases itself on keeping employees functioning after traumatic events, by providing support and education to those who require it. Additionally, TRiM aims to identify those who are not coping after potentially traumatising events and it is designed to ensure that they are signposted to professional sources of help. In essence, TRiM aims to empower organisations to discharge their duty of care whilst promoting a pro-active and resilient stance to the psychological effects of potentially traumatic events.

TRiM practitioners are non-medical personnel who have received between two and five days of training, enabling them to identify psychological risk factors that might otherwise go unnoticed. The training covers the basics of trauma psychology, how to plan for traumatic events, both before and immediately afterwards and how to conduct a psychological risk assessment. Practitioners are encouraged to use already existing personnel management systems to assist normally distressed individuals in their recovery and, where necessary, ensure that those who require it are referred for appropriate treatment at an early stage.

TRiM has been successfully employed by various organisations after a number of incidents, including September 11th 2001, the Bali Bombings, the London Bombings as well as numerous more ‘routine’ traumatic incidents, such as vehicle accidents and assaults. Organisations which have adopted the system report that it is a useful tool not only for helping to discharge an organisation’s duty of care, but TRiM may also help to change organisational culture and beliefs towards stress in general. By giving personnel the skills to recognise distress in others and the knowledge to help such people in practical and commonsense ways, TRiM may act as a catalyst, propelling organisations to adopt a more ‘stress-competent’ attitude to personnel management.
So, whether from a duty of care point of view or for reasons of business continuity, TRiM can help organisations adopt a resilient approach towards potentially traumatic events and ensure their personnel remain ‘strong in stress’.

Please call us to discuss your needs and to get a no obligation quote.
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DMA, ADS, Health & Safety Executive, EdExcel, City & Guilds, ISO 9001, ISO 14001
© A.I.D TRAINING & OPERATIONS LIMITED Company Number : 05744568 Registered Office Address: Crusader House, Centurion Way, Crusader Business Park, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 8BT Registered in England & Wales