Psychological Adjustment, June 12, 2020, Workshop Conducted Virtually
Participants in the CONVERGE COVID-19 Working Group’s Workshop #6 on Psychological Adjustment breakout sessions discussed the critical threats to psychological health and well-being facing shelter staff, volunteers, and clients in the 2020 hurricane season.
It is widely recognized that people are approaching the 2020 hurricane season under unusual levels of stress. The COVID-19 pandemic has created chronic stressors that individuals are already managing in addition to addressing new acute fears like –will I get sick if I go to a shelter? These new and exacerbated stressors are a risk for higher levels of burnout, compassion fatigue, and ill-being. Addressing these chronic and acute concerns requires several complementary strategies. First, clear and consistent messaging and training are needed to reduce the uncertainty before and during a sheltering event. Additionally, workers need to be given the resources to better manage their psychological health in the form of adaptive coping strategies. Within a shelter environment, staff and clients should have reliable access to free and confidential psychological health services
.Of course, there are considerable barriers to influencing workers’ and clients’ psychological health. Resources are limited; there is not enough time, space, money, or staff/volunteers to take advantage of every recommendation. In addition to these limited resources, stigmas still exist around psychological ill-being that may prevent people from seeking needed resources. Finally, the social distancing that is required during COVID-19 has eroded traditional social support structures that people traditionally use to cope with stress and uncertainty. Combatting these barriers requires creativity to find low-cost, high-impact strategies to protect individuals’ psychological health.
In this After-Action Report, we address each of these considerations in greater detail and provide resources to freely available flyers, brochures, posters, webinars, training, and published press articles.
CONVERGE NSF Working Group; Behr, Joshua G.; Yusuf, Wie; Marshall, Jennifer; and Dunn, Elizabeth, "Workshop #6: Psychological Adjustment for the 2020 Hurricane Season during COVID-19 Pandemic: After-Action Report (AAR)" (2020). Presentations, Lectures, Posters, Reports. 22.