Volume 5 • Issue 4 • April 2020
Uplift Family Services is a trauma-informed agency, providing whole person care through resilience-oriented, data-driven, culturally sensitive services. We believe in the power of staff investment, advocacy and collaboration as we partner with individuals, families, and communities to heal from the widespread impact of trauma.
When Trauma Goes Viral
Coronavirus and Trauma-Informed: where to begin? How about this: close your eyes, empty your mind and take a slow cleansing breath.
Really. I’ll wait. Done? Great.
The best preparation for a respiratory threat is to take a breath.
Social media and news feeds warn of a virus that will infect hundreds of millions and may kill hundreds of thousands or more. Not even us oldsters have experienced anything like this.
We, the editors of Lionhearted, have been feeling awfully stressed. We worry about kids, parents, friends and colleagues. And toilet paper!
It’s bad. We even feel guilty about complaining. So we thought it would be therapeutic for us to get the April edition of Lionhearted out early.
Meet the Coronavirus
COVID-19 is coming to a neighborhood near you. It is easy to recognize: spheres about 120 nanometers across, one five hundredth the width of a human hair.
As a neighbor, this virus is way too friendly. It hangs out in your body and, using its single strand of RNA and your cellular machinery, makes baby coronaviruses. The offspring then take a Coronavirus Disneyland Ride, spewed out into the world in your snot and sputum. Whee!
But Seriously, Folks
Coronavirus causes physical symptoms: fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, cough and fever. It causes social disruption: school and business closures, social distancing, economic loss and sheltering-in-place. Its psychological impact has been staggering: anxiety over just about everything, as well as feelings of confusion, despair and helplessness.
Here is one universal piece of advice: Whatever your spiritual, cognitive, somatic and social coping mechanisms are, please use them!
At Uplift Family Services, we are unusually good at being strength-based and tapping into hope. Monitor and manage your distress as you stay informed, take care of yourself and take care of others. Hang on to loved ones, rituals and whatever works for you.
The Traumatic Stress Institute has put out a very nice 3-pager on coping with the virus, emphasizing respect, information, connection and hope. SAMHSA has recommendations for coping with the effects of social distancing. The CDC provides reliable, up-to-date information on what you should know and do about the virus. The NIH offers the latest research findings.
If experience is the best teacher, we are all earning PhD’s in “Trauma-Informed.” We may feel dazed and worried now, but we are a caring, connected community and we will come out of this stronger.
As we are increasingly isolated from one another – including from our managers and supervisees within Uplift – please do not hesitate to reach out when you need to. Keep your physical distance but stay close, and stay safe.
Mark Edelstein & Elika Beckwith