Providing incident debriefs and mental health referrals to Mazamas and members of our mountaineering community.

Are you interested in preserving the high quality of your climbing and outdoor pursuits? Have you experienced a near miss on a mountain or a trail that left you feeling ... Cautious? Uncertain? Spooked? Something else?

Have you decreased your climbing, or stopped?

If so, maybe that situation still remains. It’s normal to have these stress responses to unexpected, traumatic and inadvertent events.

Incident response debriefings are indicated whenever one’s usual coping abilities have become overwhelmed. A fatal accident does not have to take place to ask for a debriefing; a close call is often more than enough to leave one feeling out of sorts and to set off acute and chronic stress responses.

Debriefings can promote self-healing by accelerating the natural processes of reorganizing and restructuring the experience of the event. They can prevent long term problems and facilitate healthy grieving, moving one to feel better faster.

Debriefings contain two parts; first, an orchestrated narrative where each person involved relates their experience, then an educational component about stress responses and coping techniques. The focus is what happened to you and how you are doing, not on what you did. Debriefings are totally confidential, amazingly simple and they WORK!

The Mazamas has a group of trained peer debriefers. They are Mazamas members who volunteer to assist other Mazamas with this important process. Debriefings are ideally conducted 24 to 72 hours after an incident but even if years have passed a debriefing can help restore equilibrium. It’s most effective if everyone in the party can attend.

Any Mazama member can ask for a debriefing. Just like on a climb, if you need a belay for security; ask for it. Think of debriefings are your recovery belay.

Call the Mazama Mountaineering Center 503-227-2345, leave a message with your name, number and that you are interested in a debriefing. Remember, stress reactions are normal, just like resiliency and adaptation. All contacts are handled in the strictest confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How Do I Setup a Debrief?

Contact us at 503-227-2345 or email adventure@mazamas.org. You'll need to provide your name and contact information. We will reach out to the CISM team and get back to you within 24 hours.

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What is the Timeframe?

It is ideal to setup a debrief within 24–72 hours of the incident. However, that is not a requirement for a debrief to be effective. In fact, years can have passed and a debrief can still prove to be helpful.

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Who is Eligible?

Anyone can schedule a debrief; you do not need to be a Mazama member.

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Is it Confidential?

Yes. This process is fully confidential. That is why YOU must be the one to initiate the process. We will make it as easy as possible once you reach out to us and begin the process.

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Who Will be Involved?

Ideally, everyone who was involved in the incident, accident, or near miss would be involved in the debrief. But this is not required. Everyone copes differently and if all of your teammates do not want to be involved that is up to them. 

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Who is on the CISM team?

The CISM team is comprised of trained peer debriefers. They are Mazama members who volunteer to assist the Mazamas with this important process.