The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively uprooted our routines, making it hard for many of us to adapt quickly. So much has changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Mental health concerns are rising as many people now have to face various health-related fears and anxieties as well as newfound stress in their lives. Community service workers (CSWs) have been instrumental in providing much-needed support—especially during these unprecedented and challenging times.
By providing valuable help to others, community service workers might be susceptible to compassion fatigue. This happens when caregivers experience profound emotional and, at times, physical exhaustion. The increase of COVID-related cases and the impacts they have had on the population’s mental health means that CSWs are now more important than ever. Whether helping people who have relapsed and returned to their addiction during the pandemic, or who may be facing homelessness due to financial difficulties, CSWs can be there to help. Of course, CSWs also need to take care of themselves during these difficult times. And so, checking for compassion fatigue (and knowing how to prevent it) becomes a key aspect in ensuring the mental health of these essential workers.
Addressing Desensitization and Potential Second Traumatic Stress During COVID-19
Compassion fatigue can be linked to multiple factors, typically involving desensitization—a lack of feeling created by overexposure to highly emotional cases. The COVID-19 death toll can be viewed as an example of this, particularly as the numbers keep rising at a mind-numbing pace. According to research, our brains are less emotionally engaged when large numbers of people are involved.
Similarly, those in community service worker training might feel overwhelmed and emotionally or physically drained when dealing with a large number of new clients. This sense of indirect trauma could lead to secondary traumatic stress, where caregivers and CSWs experience second-hand trauma due to exposure to the trauma of others—often resulting in anxiety, hypervigilance, or even numbness.
Combating Burnout During Your Career After Your Community Service Worker Training
Another big aspect of compassion fatigue is burnout, which usually occurs when individuals are overworked and are not provided with enough resources to help themselves. As CSWs have had to face numerous challenges during the pandemic, this pressure can cause strain. However, by ignoring the signs of burnout, CSWs risk developing more serious stress-related conditions. That is why establishing good self-care routines is important. For example, getting regular sleep and exercise as well as eating healthy and socializing are all great ways to improve your well-being.
Building a Strong Community and Emphasizing Compassion Satisfaction
Community building allows us to fight isolation even during quarantine—motivating us to help each other get through these hard times. Try to check in on your colleagues after your community service worker course to make sure everyone is doing well. Remember, compassion fatigue is normal, especially when working under unprecedented conditions.
Compassion satisfaction is all about focusing on the positive and rewarding parts of the job. It’s an important reminder of why we do what we do, and knowing that it makes a big difference. That’s why we’d like to highlight our incredible team of resilient heroes who have continued learning, teaching, and even working on the front-lines. We are so proud of our MedixHeroes who have all worked hard to create a positive change during these difficult times.
Do you want to help others by going to a community service worker college?
Contact Medix College for more information!