Critical Incident Stress Management

Supporting the people working for a better world

The conditions under which UN personnel operate have changed drastically over the years. The number of personnel exposed to stress and critical incident stress has substantially increased.

The Critical Incident Stress Management Unit (CISMU) was created in 2001 and has been operational since 2003.

A Safety and Security officer looks on proceedings with a stressed look on his face.

A UN Safety and Security Officer looks on as votes are counted for five judges from an initial pool of six candidates to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). ©UN Photo/Manuel Elias


CISMU — Mandate

The Critical Incident Stress Management Unit (CISMU) mandate includes the following:

  • Coordinating the provision and the management of stress and critical incident stress (MSCIS) UN system-wide (including crises, the death of staff members under malicious circumstances, hostage incidents, evacuations, etc.)
  • Developing, updating and coordinating comprehensive system-wide policies and systems on the MSCIS
  • Building staff resilience worldwide by:

    Conducting training on stress management and related fields;
    Conducting needs assessments and research on factors leading to stress;
    Providing advice to managers on mitigating measures.
  • Developing relevant resources and materials for the use of staff including counsellors and managers
  • Chairing the United Nations Inter-Agency Working Group on Stress.

CISMU — Personnel responsiblities

Critical Incident Stress Management Unit (CISMU) personnel are primarily responsible for stress management, resilience building and critical incident stress management. They have specific responsibilities in emergency preparedness, emergency response and hostage incident management. Furthermore, they address and promote staff psychosocial wellbeing issues in coordination with the Medical Service Division, HR Officers, UN Counsellors from other UN agencies, funds and programmes and senior and line managers UN system wide.


The Critical Incident Stress Management Unit (CISMU) can be contacted at