Over the past two years, SEI has been developing a new SE-informed training opportunity known as Crisis Stabilization and Safety (CSS). It is designed for frontline workers, first responders, and people dealing with intense pressure to create stabilization, safety, and support structures during a community-wide crisis such as a disaster, a mass casualty event, or even a pandemic. It provides a framework for crisis intervention that improves safety measures and increases the ability to navigate difficult situations.
CSS is currently in a pilot phase, with a target launch later in 2022. One recently completed pilot program was with the Pueblo of Pojoaque in New Mexico. SEI's Public Health Initiatives team was invited to introduce the CSS program as a healing resource for the community as part of the Pueblo of Pojoaque's COVID-19 Emergency Mental Health (EMH) project. Through three, two-hour sessions, Amie Leigh, SEI's Director of Public Health Initiatives, and Del Laverdure, SEP, Crow Nation Member, former acting director of the US Bureau of Indian Affairs, and SEI's Indigenous Community Liaison, brought culturally responsive crisis stabilization resources and support to Pueblo of Pojoaque’s behavioral health staff, community health representatives (CHRs), and medical staff. Dea Parsanishi, MEd, SEP, supported the project as a faculty advocate and resource.
Attendees walked away with actionable strategies and skills for themselves and their clients. In a formal evaluation by Allyson Kelley and Associates, PLLC, attendees reported feeling engaged, connected, and having learned a lot. One participant shared, “These sessions came at the right time, and I really needed it for myself. It helped stabilize me and I think that helped me jump back in with the clients and, just be better and, recognize their trauma too, with new tools.”
The positive response to this pilot is an important step forward in SEI’s work to introduce SE and SE-informed tools to the field of crisis response, backed by evidence. The evaluation found that the CSS resource sessions brought new tools and strategies that helped participants better understand and address trauma and its impacts. It also strengthened their team. These and other benefits will continue to be explored in upcoming pilots.