Be Mindful of Your Human Condition to Care for the Human Condition of Others : My Blog
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Be Mindful of Your Human Condition to Care for the Human Condition of Others

by Ellen Fink-Samnick MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP on 03/30/20

It has been some time since I wrote a blog post, and the current global pandemic has inspired me to do so. Before my work on ethical industry disruptors like Workplace Bullying, Social Determinants of Health, HIPAA, and Healthcare Technology, I had another calling. My work focused on Professional Resilience; the commitment of health and behavioral health practitioners to achieve balance between personal well-being and the professional chaos that surrounds them. This goal was always critical to the health and wellness, mental health, and workforce sustainability, yet tough to attain. Simply stated, the health and behavioral health industry’s interprofessional workforce is wired help others first and foremost, their self-care at the bottom of any priority list. 


Let's face it: most members of the health and behavioral health workforce engage in a stance I call, 'Process and Roll". On a typical day and independent of setting, most individuals are so busy they go from one patient to the next. When tough situations occur, practitioners move swiftly from direct intervention to regulatory or other reimbursement requirements (e.g., documentation, regulatory actions) with little to no time to process the emotional enormity of the situation, whether patient deterioration, challenging patient or family dynamics, or death. This functioning may be beneficial for the short-term, but will not promote professional sustainability. Burn-out, compassion fatigue and potentially vicarious trauma will surely ensure.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has yielded unprecedented challenges for all employees of the industry. However, the recurrence of this latest pandemic is a reminder to be mindful of the health and human services' occupational hazard: to help others before and instead of ourselves. I recognize this selflessness is one ethical tenet of the workforce that will not change. The theme is endemic to every code of ethics and professional conduct, especially those for medicinesocial work, nursingcounseling, and professional case management, among others. The primary obligation is always to the public.


Yet, given the dramatic new norm imposed by the Coronavirus, I remind everyone of one fact. You must be mindful of your own human condition to properly care for the human condition of others. The intense impact of the pandemic on both short and long-term functioning of professionals is a compelling concern. In my efforts to keep this post intentional, I’ve compiled a list of mental health and stress management resources. Some are for my workforce colleagues to attend to their own behavioral health, and others for patients. All have merit for the public: 

o    CDC site for Stress and Coping: Detailed listing of resources

o    Mental Health America: Resources and tools for providers and patients

o    Mental Health First Aid: A range of resources and blogs

o    National Center for PTSD: Provider toolkit

o    National Center for PTSD: COVID19 resource center 

o    National Council of Behavioral Health: Resources and tools for addressing Coronavirus

o    National Association of Mental Illness: COVID 19 Resources Guide

o    SAMHSA: COVID19 resource center: Guidance for providers and communities

o    When Home Becomes the Workplace: Guidance for the remote workforce

o Resources for crisis and emergency resources


Additional individual, group therapy and counseling resources:

  • SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990, or text TALKWITHUS to 66746.
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness: online communities to share issues and obtain support.
  • Support Group Central: virtual support groups on mental health conditions for free or at low cost, with access in different languages
  • Betterhelp: app offering individual, couples, teens counseling, with licensed therapists available via text, video, and audio. 
  • For Like Minds: online mental health support network for individuals to connect with others experiencing stressful life events. 
  • Calm and Moodfit: Apps that address mild anxiety or depression, and promote coping.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
  • The Sleep Foundation: Resources on sleep hygiene to address stress (e.g., insomnia, depression, anxiety) 


Assessment Tools:


All are welcome to add other established resources to this list. 


Until next time.......Stay Resilient and Safe


#ProtectHealthcareWorkers #interprofessionalimpact #professionalresilience #socialdistancing

For professional speaking queries, visit my website, or email me at TM

Comments (3)

1. Colleen Morley said on 4/1/20 - 01:52PM
Thank you for the timely words of wisdom. One of our local BH hospitals actually called me this morning offering virtual groups and virtual mindfulness exercise seminars for the staff in our hospital. What an idea!
2. Wilson Hurley, LCSW said on 4/2/20 - 10:43AM
Here’s a link to a resource I’m developing for helping professionals offering tools for building mindful compassion: I hope it helps!
3. Martha Lynn FitzSimon said on 4/7/20 - 02:05AM
Thanks for this reminder, Ellen. This pandemic is affects everything...both our inner and outer worlds. Just a simple task like grocery shopping is now a big deal--hand washing, mask, don't stay long, stay 6 feet apart. I am taking walks in nature, meditating, and reconnecting with friends to care for myself. I know these are ways I can stay healthy and build my resilience so that I do not burn out in this beautiful profession of social work and behavioral health.

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