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Two county women lead critical incident training seminar

November 23, 2008

More than 20 mental health providers and emergency service workers from fire, police, and emergency medical services agencies from Allegany, Washington, and Frederick counties attended critical incident training at Williamsport Fire and Rescue earlier this year.

The training, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, was hosted by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services System (MIEMSS). It was led by Stacey Black and Julie Kugler-Bentley, mental health therapists with Behavioral Health Services, a wellness education, mental health and addictions treatment provider in Washington County.

The training program addressed the stress caused by critical incidents such as death in the line of duty, situations of multiple casualties and many other situations that emergency service providers deal with on a daily basis. The program also linked mental health and peer support personnel to support providers who are directly affected by these experiences.

Black and Kugler-Bentley are members of MIEMSS' Maryland Crisis Intervention Stress Management Team.

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The team is comprised of both mental health and peer support volunteers whose mission is to ensure the mental health and stress management of emergency service providers throughout the state in an effort to preserve the highest quality of emergency care possible. Kugler-Bentley is the coordinator for Region II, which includes Frederick and Washington counties.

Behavioral Health Services, a division of Washington County Health System, provides a continuum of care that encompasses normal life transitions and stress reactions through conditions requiring acute inpatient treatment. Behavioral Health Services' locations include the H.W. Murphy Community Health Center at Walnut Street, and Washington County Hospital, and an employee assistance program office at Health@Work on Downsville Pike.

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