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Supporting Staff · Helping People

BSAS–IHR Crisis Response Initiative

Because addiction is often a deadly disease and in light of the current Opioid Overdose crisis, The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) has contracted with the Institute for Health & Recovery to provide on-site crisis response services to BSAS-funded organizations throughout the Commonwealth. The purpose of this initiative is to support staff and help people recover as quickly as possible.

Examples of the kinds of situations that lend themselves to crisis response are:

  • Death of a client
  • Death of a co-worker
  • Suicide of client or co-worker
  • Violent events that threaten workplace safety
  • Significant events involving children; e.g., removal of child from parent’s care while in a program
  • Natural disasters or acts of terrorism
  • Fire at the workplace

When a program calls IHR at 617-661-3991 to request crisis response services, as soon as possible after the crisis (at most 48 business hours) one of the trauma team members will work with the Program Director to develop a plan for supporting staff and/or clients. The plan may include meetings with individuals and/or groups of staff members and/or meetings with individual or groups of clients to have a dialogue about the incident.

The intention of these discussions is to lend validation and support. Participants are encouraged to share how they are affected and helped to identify what will help them recover. The IHR facilitator will add what is known about how adverse events affect people and reassure those attending that they are experiencing “a normal response to an abnormal event.” The dialogue will help elicit strengths and coping strategies and offer participants the opportunity to develop a self-care plan. It will also educate participants about the signs that they need additional professional help.