Behavioral health provider rolls out crisis service for organizations


Bob VandePol. Courtesy Pine Rest

A local behavioral health provider has added a new “psychological and spiritual first aid” service for businesses, churches and schools.

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in Grand Rapids said this week it is introducing Pax Crisis Response, which delivers crisis-response training, consultation and service via telephone, live video feed and on site.

Pax Crisis Response is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.

“When tragedy strikes an organization — violence, suicide, ethical failure by its leaders, tragic death or natural disaster — all stakeholders immediately look to its leadership for direction,” said Bob VandePol, Pine Rest executive director of employee, church and school-assistance programs and manager of the service.

He said Pax Crisis Response provides “expert crisis leadership training, consultation and response” to support organizations during and after a crisis.

People and organizations impacted by tragedy benefit greatly when response can be immediate, according to Pine Rest.

VandePol said businesses will benefit from the service, because “effective crisis leadership mitigates both human and financial costs after a tragedy.”

Pax Crisis Response is being offered as a separate contract item or it can be included with an employee, church or school-assistance program contract.

Pine Rest said financial support from the Pine Rest Foundation will allow the organization to offer the service to faith communities and nonprofits at a reduced cost.

Crisis consultation

Pine Rest said skilled crisis response consultants can be available immediately to support an organization’s leadership, as “critical, time-sensitive decisions” are made and communicated.

Selecting from a range of structured group and individual interventions, a Pax consultant will provide “a safe, directed environment” for leadership, staff and families involved.

The Pax staff may use various on-site response intervention structures: leadership consultations, one-to-one meetings, small groups, large groups and family consultations.

Crisis training

Pine Rest said there is a strong training component involved in the Pax Crisis Response service.

The training covers various topics: the individual and organizational impacts of crisis and loss; spiritual and psychological first aid skills; what to say and what not to say; knowing when you’re in over your head and how to refer; and self- and team-resilience care.

Pine Rest said it recently developed print and video resources as part of Pax Crisis Response for a disaster relief organization, so it can train its volunteers in crisis communication.

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