Public Health Emergency - Leading a Nation Prepared
Behavioral health practices are facing unprecedented challenges. Your staff and clients will understand that you don’t have all the answers, but they will look to you as a model for how to respond in this crisis. You can help support your staff and clients by being honest about what you don’t know and modeling the following behaviors:
Communicate calmly, often, and clearly
Establish and maintain clear boundaries between work and rest
Engage in self-care
Whenever possible, take the time to engage in active listening and build rapport by summarizing the concerns and feelings your staff and clients express. For example, “It sounds like you are worried about bringing COVID home to your family if someone in our facility tests positive.” Listening is one of the greatest tools you possess in this situation. If a client is advocating for themselves and looking for answers you do not have, recognize their advocacy and strengths.
VitalTalk provides practical advice on how to have difficult conversations with clients about COVID-related testing and medical care.
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Even helpers need help, especially with the stress and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19. But who should
you turn to? This will depend on who you are and your unique needs. Before you get to a crisis point, brainstorm sources of support and write them down or type them in your phone. Know who you can turn to for peer support, family support, leadership support, counseling and therapy options through employee assistance programs, online support groups, available hotlines, etc. If you are comfortable, reach out to leadership and coworkers for their knowledge on available resources, or consider creating individual support plans as an office-wide reopening activity, since we all need support right now. Here are two resources to get you started:
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