What happens when a group of people are exposed to a traumatic event? How do they cope? How do they process what has just happened to them? Weyburn, Estevan and immediate rural areas have a resource they can access.
The Southeast Compassionate Response Team (SECRT), is a group of volunteers who have come together to meet the needs of folks involved in traumatic events. Team coordinator Sandy Spencer Johnson says the team has been trained in Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and they are ready when needed.
Their mission statement "is not to guide people through the process of grief, but rather to help people cope with the initial shock of the traumatic event. This may be done through offering a listening ear and appropriate referral to agencies in our community. Through this process of listening and referral, we hope to alleviate some of the pain".
Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), is an intervention that targets the response to a critical event not the event itself. It is defined as an "active short-term, supportive helping process" that is "not psychotherapy or a replacement for it". Johnson states there are three goals her group will attempt to accomplish should a traumatic event occur. First, they will meet with the group to help stabilize the situation and give them as much information about what has occurred. This step does not go into detail about the event, instead it is a time to give the facts as they are known to help minimize rumors and get everyone on the same page. Next, they will give self care information to those involved to help reduce symptoms of stress in an effort to help the individuals to adapt to a healthy level of functioning. With this information and the resources provided, it is believed that the healing process can begin and individuals can begin to rely on their own coping mechanisms. Finally, the team will provide individuals with contact information to access appropriate resources should they need help in the future.
The team is made up of individuals with various backgrounds in the Human Services field. Johnson stresses that these individuals response to traumatic events and volunteers with no specific professional title. The SECRT volunteers can be called for various reasons such as a company who has experienced a sudden or accidental death of one of their employees, individuals who have witnessed or been involved as bystanders in a motor vehicle or oil field accident, a suicide where many members of a community are traumatized, or any natural disaster where there are numerous individuals affected.
Johnson says the SECRT volunteers do not charge a fee for their service but they do ask that mileage out of town be covered. They also rely on donations from the community to help them meet operational expenses. The Southeast Compassionate Response Team is a non-profit organization hoping to fill a void for services within the Weyburn/Estevan area.
For more information or to request services form SECRT, please call 306-848-3250 and you will be put in touch with a volunteer who can assist you.