Between 40% and 85% of “helping professionals” develop secondary traumatic stress, empathic strain and/or high rates of traumatic symptoms (Mathieu, 2012).
Stress has an enormous impact on the health of an organization, and when the added element of secondary and/or direct trauma exposure is present, balancing workplace wellness becomes far more complicated, and we would argue, even more critical.
A secondary traumatic stress-informed organization recognizes these challenges and proactively addresses the impact of STS through policies, procedures, practices, and programs.
Organizations’ leadership have the ethical responsibility to create supportive work environments and resources to combat this. Sound organizational interventions, policies and sustainability processes ensure wellness of an organization as a whole, thus enabling the provision of strong and effective services to our communities.
Research consistently demonstrates a return of $2.00 to $5.00 for every dollar invested in comprehensive population based wellness programs. (Tend, 2018)
Strategies to Promote Organizational Well-being
Leadership needs to develop a culture of compassion and support throughout all levels of the program in order to keep staff healthy and effective. This culture must include all staff and volunteers. Leadership should promote the idea that it takes a compassionate community of people working together to heal from trauma. This culture should be developed and maintained through specific policies, procedures, and regular activities. These include:
Adapted from: The UC San Francisco Trauma Recovery Center Model: Removing Barriers to Care and Transforming Services for Survivors of Violent Crime. Edited by Stacey Wiggall, LCSW & Alicia Boccellari, Ph.D