Support for Providers and Volunteers
Healthcare providers and volunteers are susceptible to increased exhaustion (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually) due to the nature of caring for others in situations that often feel helpless or saddening. Emergency, crisis, and global health workers are even more likely to develop symptoms of burnout, vicarious traumatization, moral injury, and mental health concerns due to the chronic nature of stress in the job. Thus, the struggles you are experiencing are common and expected in this crisis context. We know you are trying hard to help others despite limited and depleted resources.
Research shows taking care of yourself is an essential foundation for being able to continue to help others. Therefore, you deserve self-care for the sake of yourself and the clients we care about. Self-care doesn't have to be time-consuming. Click a link below to see how you can get support, understand your experience, or try a quick strategy designed to take less than 5 minutes to re-energize you. Even if you don’t feel stressed, these links can help you understand how to support a colleague who may seem irritable, tired, or in need of support.
Individual and Peer Support for Others and You
Individual therapy or counseling can be beneficial to manage stress, discuss concerns, thoughts, and feelings in a confidential setting, and for personal growth. Connecting with peers to share experiences with can also provide relief. Connecting with peers to share experiences with can also provide relief. By being open with others about your vulnerability and pain, you gain new insight into how all of us and the population we care for can heal (Click links for more research and cultural/religious perspectives on providers being a wounded healer). Acknowledging vulnerability is strengthening and permits movement forward. When others come to you for support, remember to acknowledge/validate their experience and emotions, empathize and reflect back what you hear, be mutually respectful, and actively listen without judgement.
Individual Support for RHA Providers
Lauren Deimling Johns offers free individual tele-support consultations by appointment in Spanish and English. These are confidential. Be sure to reference that you are an RHA volunteer or RHA provider. Contact her by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or a WhatsApp text to +41 78-977-9119 and Dr. Deimling Johns will respond within 48 hours. If you need more immediate help and you are in the US call 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org to live chat with someone.
To join a virtual yoga and meditation group especially for RHA providers/ volunteers, send an email to RHAbienestar@gmail.com.
UNICEF Individual and Group Psycho-social Services for Free
(only in Spanish via online)
Peer Online Groups, Helplines, & Additional Pro-Bono Therapy Options & Resources
Code Green Campaign is an outstanding mental health resource specifically for providers. It offers a variety of resources for English speaking providers.
For peer support, consider also having a frontline buddy you check in with regularly or send a message to process or share with at the end of your day.
To hear about provider experiences, you can also listen to webinars by two psychologists on various topics regarding provider support: www.crowdcast.io/caringforclinicians
If you have health insurance, you may have coverage for services and can find a therapist of your own to work with on an ongoing basis. You may also elect to pay out of pocket for these services. A good start to finding someone to talk with is www.psychologytoday.com. Most therapists now offer in office and/or tele-health options.