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2013-2014 Healing Accomplishments Commitment
“We see families at their worst, and children at their most vulnerable.... Their stories are haunting, and we hear them, in vivid detail, every single day. Joyful Heart’s Heal the Healers program was a wake up call for me. The program offered education about vicarious trauma and self-care practices, but most importantly, Heal the Healers gave me the space to realize that our minds and bodies can only take so much.”
- LACDMH Heal the Healers Program Participant
In Los Angeles, we have continued our collaboration with the LA County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH). Our work with the LACDMH promises to effect systemic change given this agency’s positioning in the county and issue space. In February, we held a Heal the Healers workshop with over 120 individuals representing more than 20 organizations that serve under- resourced populations in some of the communities most impacted by violence in Los Angeles, including the LACDMH and the LAC Department of Children & Family Services. With the program, participants were able to reflect on their experiences of vicarious trauma and receive concrete tools to support their sustainability and self-care in their important work. Importantly, our work and collaboration is being utilized and adopted as a model among leaders of both the county’s branches of services so they can develop an in-house program to address vicarious trauma and sustain self-care. Given the high position of both departments, this work promises to be a model across all agencies of the Los Angeles County government services.
In New York, Joyful Heart conducted Heal the Healers sessions among two of the largest agencies serving victims of violence in the city: program partner Safe Horizon and New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (NYC ACS). Nearly 100 members of Safe Horizon’s staff attended our Heal the Healers session. Safe Horizon is working to integrate Joyful Heart’s holistic approach to healing into its newly founded and much-needed educational program on vicarious trauma, which aims to build its internal capacity to sustain self-care and provide tools to address vicarious trauma. At our Heal the Healers session conducted with NYC ACS, we were joined by 12 members of the executive staff to examine the high levels of vicarious trauma among staff members. After a day of wellness and reflection, the group shared their ideas for bringing what they learned to their staff—eager to create a systemic shift to preserve and promote the well-bring of service providers in one of the largest, most influential such agencies in the nation.