Social Support Systems is arguably the UK’s most experienced organisation in the field of post-incident psychological support.
Our experience of providing effective psychological recovery operations across a broad spectrum of high-profile and international operational incidents means that when disaster strikes, we can be relied upon to provide the best service possible for our partners
Because our team consists only of serving and former emergency service and military personnel, our operational and cultural knowledge assures our partners that the robust and effective solutions we provide are centric to their core service delivery and business continuity needs.
Unlike purely academic consultancies, we actually know and understand what it feels like to be involved in a critical incident from an operational perspective.
Our unique and entirely person-centred solutions, represent the cutting edge in the resolution of posttraumatic stress in first responders.
An evolutionary step in Critical incident support
The Critical Incident Stress Intervention and Support (CrISIS) Protocol, is a multifaceted, non-linear, and responsive approach to supporting organisations and their people following a critical incident.
Tried and tested during the psychological recovery operations SSS conducted following the London attacks of 2017, and the Grenfell Tower disaster, CrISIS represents an evolutionary development in resolving posttraumatic stress.
Unlike older, less effective ‘trauma risk management’ systems, CrISIS is not merely a system of referral, but rather, provides comprehensive, evidence-based and highly effective system of 1:1 and group interventions for those affected by a traumatic reaction – thus negating the need to refer onwards into medical pathways and facilitating a quicker and sustainable return to normal function.
What is a critical incident?
Basically, a critical incident is an incident that has the potential to overwhelm the natural coping mechanisms of those involved.
There is no hard and fast definition, as traumatic reactions are highly subjective to the individual, but we can consider some operational incident types more likely to be linked with the development of a traumatic reaction and the future onset of PTSD:
Death of a colleague
Death of a child
Life changing or limiting physical injury
Experiencing a series of critical incidents over a short period of time creating an accumulative effect
Incidents where there may be a personal meaning
Incidents which are disturbing or shocking e.g. murder scenes or suicide
Incidents involving operational difficulties eg. Flashover, near misses,contamination, firearms discharge
Incidents which have media attention or a public response
Difficult calls e.g. fire survival call
Failed resuscitation attempts
It is also possible to define an incident as ‘critical’ if one or more responders are found to have suffered a peritraumatic reaction, using the RAIDS peritraumatic risk assessment process.
Linking evidence-based solutions with real word experience
Social Suport Systems CIC Director, Dr John Durkin, was responsible for acquiring ‘evidence-based’ status with SAMHSA for Everly and Mitchell’s system of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), and along with fellow director’s Paul Meakin & Sean McCallum has been at the forefront of the development of the CrISIS Protocol. Partially evolved from the CISM system, Durkin, Meakin & McCallum have applied Gerbodian principles of applied metapsychology to the original CISM system, and an entirely pure person-centred system of facilitation.
This non-linear and responsive approach has proved highly effective in real word application following some of Europes highest profile critical incidents, and Social Support Systems has supported many first responders throughout periods of crisis, providing truly longitudinal recovery from trauma.
Need a fast response to help your people and your organisation?
SSS can provide a CrISIS response within 24 hours if required and has international reach.
The CrISIS Protocol can be initiated immediately and our team will liaise directly with your management team to provide guidance throughout the critical incident and its aftermath.
For more details on the CrISIS Protocol and how it can help mitigate psychological trauma, please contact us here
Having suffered anxiety and depression on and off over the last few years, I had lost faith in that I’d ever feel good about life. A traumatic incident overwhelmed me and I felt unable to function properly.
After hearing about Social Support Systems, it took me almost a year to finally ask for some help. I knew something needed to change and although it was hard admitting I was struggling, I took the risk. And am I glad I did.
The difference I feel is fantastic.
I feel like a big weight has lifted off my shoulders and the crippling anxiety is reducing.
I can even laugh as I work through my worries, something I never thought I’d do. My family has noticed the positive change in my attitude and that I am far less worked up and snappy.
My facilitator was patient, kind, understanding, and puts no pressure on me. Talking to her is changing my life and my family’s life. I can’t thank her enough.
‘I had been struggling with a traumatic event that affected my life on a daily basis. One session with my facilitator has made an unbelievable difference; I no longer have flashbacks, I can talk openly about what happened, I feel calmer and have less anxiety.
I was nervous before the session but the process was explained to me fully before we began and i was made to feel completely at ease. We went at my pace and i felt in control the whole time. I can’t recommend Social Support Systems enough.’
Social Support Systems provides help for people across a broad range of psychological difficulties including depression, anxiety, stress, and trauma (PTSD).
We are proud to have effectively supported people from many different walks of life, and at the heart of our service are a number of core values which guide our work and enable our clients to receive the best care possible, regardless of their characteristics, background or social status.
For many, normative counselling, therapy or psychiatry doesn’t work.
Crucially, lots of our clients have already been through the NHS pathways , and have engaged in programmes of therapy only to find themselves still in crisis.
We believe that our clients are all unique, as are their experiences.
We also know that you are the expert in your own experience, not us. Therefore, we work to help you explore your mental environment and issues yourself, and it is this entirely ‘person-centred’ approach that enables our clients to truly resolve their distress.
Our person-centred commitments to you are:
Not to evaluate, judge, criticise, disparage or invalidate you, or your values, feelings, reactions, assumptions, conclusions or thoughts
To take responsibility for your recovery without dominating you
Not to interpret for you, nor advise you
Not to label, nor attempt to diagnose you with any illness or condition
To be interested in you and your needs at all times
To always try understand you, and always support you
To Maintain a firm and primary intention to help you
Other reasons why our service is different:
We do not believe in limiting session times, as this can prevent resolution and encourage dependency on regular interventions as a ‘coping’ strategy.
If you book an appointment at our support centre, it will only end when you are in a better place and happy to end the session yourself.
We will not give you ‘homework’ and we especially do not teach coping mechanisms – if you’re issues are resolved, there should be nothing to ‘cope’ with – surely?
Located in Ransom Wood, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, our support centre is a peaceful and discreet option for those who feel that privacy is of importance to them.
Everybody experiences grief, or loss, in their own way. It is an entirely subjective experience, and dependent on many factors.
It represents a broad range of reactions and seems to be an essential part of the continuity of our lives.
There are a number of theories which attempt to describe the process of coming to terms with someone’s death, such as the familiar ‘Kubler-Ross’ model which describes a response involving Progressive stages in coming to terms with someone dying:
Whilst some recover relatively quickly, others take a while – and for some, it seems that the emotional pain and distress caused by the death of a loved one or close family member will never go away.
Regardless of theoretical models, what is for sure, is that grief is an unpleasant experience and may affect you over a lengthy period of time. Though of course, it must be remembered that death is a natural part of our lives, and thus the general outcome of the grieving process is to continue to live with fulfilment once we have adjusted to life without the presence of the person we have lost.
For some though, emotional attachment, the nature of the death or dying process can augment the sense of loss, or loss of control, creating a sense of shock, helplessness, emotional numbness, anger, frustration, and a whole host of other feelings and emotions which negatively impact on one’s life and well-being – according to the UK National Health Service, there are a number of key factors that indicate you should seek help:
You don’t feel able to cope with overwhelming emotions or daily life
The intense emotions aren’t subsiding
You’re not sleeping normally
You have symptoms of depression or anxiety
Your relationships are suffering
You’re having sexual problems
You’re becoming accident-prone.
Whilst such lists can be helpful to doctors in assessment processes, they are not exhaustive of the whole human experience and will not adequately explain the differences between the grief experiences of different people.
It’s safe to say, from a person-centred point of view, that you will know when you are becoming overwhelmed, because you are the expert in your own experience.
If you do feel that you are struggling to cope, and your psychological well-being is being adversely affected to the point you are in distress or crisis, and if you feel you need help, you can contact us to tell us about it and get support.
You can have confidence that our TIR facilitators can effectively support you – we aren’t like normal counsellors, therapists or psychiatrists. You can learn more about how our unique person-centred approach to mental health is different by clicking here
Please Contact us to arrange a consultation and discuss your needs.
I’m very excited, because this week, Social Support Systems became a member of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA).
It seems that almost every week, there is news in the media of another soldier, paramedic, police officer or fire-fighter who has taken their own life – it is incredibly sad, and I believe that Social Support Systems (SSS) can have a great impact upon reducing the amount of suicides in the UK.
‘I have attended all manner of incidents, but I recently dealt with an incident that caused me issues.I had constant reminders of it and it started to interfere with my private and work life.I had a vision in my head 24hrs a day that i just couldn’t get rid of. I considered the GP, asking for help, and thought about going off sick. I broke down at work and sought help internally and was directed to Social Support Systems.After a quick online questionnaire i was asked to phone and make an appointment.The day arrived and i didn’t know what to expect, but after three hours with my facilitator I no longer feel or suffer the issues I did, and life is back on track.An unexpectedly simple process provided relief for me – Much quicker than a GP visit and then onward referral. I really can’t praise or thank them enough.’
‘It’s very bizarre…Yesterday I thought ‘no way would talking work’, but the difference I feel that sharing what happened with you is unreal.How can one session be so beneficial?.I feel like a pressure has lifted from me – a strange feeling of acceptance of what happened, but to move forward. For the first time ever I can feel a spark of hope!