You Can Make a Difference — Get Trained!

Each of us has been affected by trauma in some way, shape, or form.  Perhaps you've

  • lost a loved one
  • been in an accident
  • lived through a hurricane or tornado
  • experienced combat
  • been the victim of some act of violence. 

Disaster has many faces.  Having someone to help us walk through the emotions and the experience makes a difference.  Having someone listen to our story, really listen, and care makes a difference.

There's an opportunity for lay people — you and me — to be trained to help do just that.  Thankfully, I don't have to be a "shrink" to help people walk through and process the emotions associated with what happened to them!  Being trained keeps me from saying stupid things…all well meant, but stupid things can make a lifetime of difference.  After my mom died, so many people didn't know what to say…and ended up saying stupid things that just pissed me off as opposed to helping me out.  Ugh. 

Just last week, my dad and I attended a CISM+ training done by Melissa Slagle of Living Solutions in Oklahoma.  CISM+ stands for "Critical Incident Stress Management."  That's a mouthful, to be sure, but basically it trains people to help others manage the stress associated with a major (usually negative) event in their lives, and gives you good, helpful things to say as opposed to well meant, but not so helpful stuff aka stupid.  The plus indicates that there are some other approaches presented as well.  The beautiful thing about getting this training with Melissa is that she presents it from a Christian perspective! 

CISM is nationally recognized.  It was developed after the Oklahoma City bombing because it was found that the responders were having some serious issues that led to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)…some issues which are on-going even today for some of those people.  CISM was used with responders and survivors after the 9/11 attacks.  It was used with victims of Katrina.  If you deploy to a crisis (with an organization!  Don't ever self-deploy!  Trust me on this.) and you are CISM trained, you will be used.  Having a CISM trained individual debrief responders and victims alike cuts down tremendously on the incidents of PTSD.

Realize, though, that this is not just something that can be used with a deployment to help after a disaster.  You can use this in your own community.  Get trained, then let your fire chief and your police chief know that you've been trained and you're willing to help debrief responders and victims after difficult calls.  Having your CISM certification will be a big help to getting you on the other side of that yellow tape when something happens, be it a fire, a shooting, or whatever.  Perhaps a team in your church could get trained so that if there is a disaster in your area, you're ready to help with those who have been affected. 

We prepare now so that we are able to step up and help when something happens. 

We prepare now so that we are able to be in the position to share the love of Jesus with those who are hurting and in need.

We prepare now so that we are ready when we're called on for action.

Are you ready to get ready?

Below is a schedule of Melissa's trainings as well as her contact information.  She is a dear, educated, connected lady who deployed to

  • Oklahoma City after the bombing
  • New York City after the 9/11 attacks
  • New Orleans after Katrina
  • countless other places.

She has the experience to back up what she teaches, and has a heart to get others prepared to respond as she has been able to do. 

Step up. 

Take a look.  

Take the time.

  • June 15-24, 2012 — Austin, TX; ADRN Annual Disaster Response Conference
  • June 26-30, 2012 — Kansas City, MO; Heartland YWAM, Chaplain Academy 1-2-3
  • July 11-14, 2012 — Tulsa, OK; Newspring Church, Chaplain Academy 1-2
  • July 16-22, 2012 — Lancaster, PA; CISM+ & Chaplain Academy

Melissa Slagle,, 918.494.0550



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