Maintaining Wellness at Work and Home

By MIKE LEE

Members of the six locals in the DC 37 Non-Profit Public Sector Division participated in a March 23 webinar titled Wellness, Healthy Coping, and Resilience during Challenging Times, the first of four mental health and wellness webinars set up in conjunction with the DC 37 Safety and Health Department.

The event, presented by Amy Cushing-Savvi, LCSW, an Assistant Director of Social Work at the World Trade Center Health Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, gave the presentation. Cushing-Savvi highlighted the importance of maintaining wellness and emphasized the challenges posed by workplace stress in environments devoted to servicing clients in need.

“The webinar gave our members a toolbox for dealing with the incredible stress they face each and every day while providing vital care for the clients they serve with dedication,” said Margaret Glover, President of Local 389 Home Care Employees. “We’re looking forward to attending future webinars on this important topic.”

Many members in the Non-Profit Private Sector Division locals work with at-risk communities, developmentally challenged individuals, and adults and young people in congregant care settings. They work in day care, Head Start centers, in private homes and group homes — professions that are among the most stressful and challenging.

“This program emanated from a sense of working closely with the non-profit division that there was a need to do something specific for non-profit workers,” said Barbara Edmonds, DC 37 Director of Strategic Initiatives. “Even before the pandemic, given the nature of the work of these members, they are in some of the most stressful—and in some cases, unsafe—situations in the workplace.”

Deborah Williams, Director of the DC 37 Safety and Health Department, agrees.

“It’s vital to share this information, not just for the members but for their family and the people they serve,” Williams said. “We don’t talk about mental health check-ins or other issues, yet we must.”

Marcia Hunte, Program Coordinator of the Divisions’ Education Department, was impressed with members’ response to the programming.

“We received positive feedback from the members,” Hunte said. “They were particularly responsive to the self-care exercises shared during the webinar that they can do even while at work. The exercises allow them to relieve the pressures impacting them at work particularly in the group residences.”

“Cushing-Savvi gave a general explanation about how mental health relates to stress and anxiety, which led to a discussion on what tools you can use to create calm in your environment and settle yourself,” Edmonds said.

The union is planning the next webinar, with additional information to come.

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