New stress management program seeks to multiply its ranks

Public Affairs Specialist
Published April 19, 2016
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Another employee support program in the Corps of Engineers’ arsenal has found a new home at the Savannah District.
Advocates of the newly initiated Critical Incident Stress Management program, or CISM, seek peer supporters to join its ranks as first line responders for Corps employees dealing with critical incidents and stressful situations.
Its arrival means that Corps employees dealing with stressful work environment incidents have an informal avenue to discuss healthy life choices and seek peer support. Sessions aim to lessen the impact of acute or cumulative stress and to accelerate recovery in people who are having normal reactions to abnormal events.
CISM peer supporters or response teams can be called to respond to line of duty deaths or serious injuries, employee suicide or unexpected deaths, significant events involving children and other traumatic episodes that may cause stress.
Paula Hanna, an executive assistant and family readiness network coordinator at the Savannah District, heads a two-person cadre as program manager for the South Atlantic Division, which covers all the SAD districts. Hanna and her new peer supporter, Narissia Skinner, an executive assistant at the Charleston District, are the only qualified CISM advocates in SAD, which stretches across six states and employs more than 2,000 people.


They can provide pre-incident and stress education, confidential on-scene group interventions and one-on-one support, emergency mobilization and demobilization, post visit follow-ups and Employee Assistance Program referrals.
Now in the recruitment phase, Hanna seeks individuals who are concerned about the welfare of others, have a willingness to assist and who can extrapolate experiences from service-oriented professions, she said.

During five days of initial training, prospects can expect to unbundle how to respond to stress-induced situations. Training equips advocates to assess situations, recognize stress-induced emotions and behaviors and identify appropriate resources for referrals. 

To become a peer supporter or learn more information, contact Paula Hanna at 912-652-5175 or To contact a peer supporter or activate a CISM response team call 314-925-5250.