Work-related stress is prevalent – it happens to people with 9 to 5 desk jobs, field workers, start-up entrepreneurs, top-tier executives; blue collar, white collar. Work-related stress can be reduced and relieved by joining wellness initiatives that can battle or prevent its symptoms. Now, imagine working in an environment that is naturally stressful. One where you need to witness people going through dreadful events and then assist these people to cope with their trauma. This is the responsibility entailed for law enforcement, social work, and justice professionals. By doing their jobs as public servants, they take in stress and these can affect their well-being.
The Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) is tasked to handle cases dealing with child exploitation, child pornography, and anything internet-related that negatively impacts children and minors. Their employees are subject to traumatic imagery and details constantly. The Maryland ICAC employed the assistance of Duane Bowers to create a wellness program that can help the employees and their loved ones cope with work-related stress and trauma caused by the nature of their jobs.
Duane Bowers and Lt. Matthew Kail join today’s webinar to discuss wellness initiatives to battle stress and trauma. Duane Bowers is a licensed professional counselor, educator, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and author who specializes in supporting survivors of traumatic events like death and suicide. Lt. Matthew Kail is the commander of the Maryland State Police Technical Investigation Section and he utilized Duane’s program to support the Maryland ICAC personnel.
Together, they provided insights from their point of view as the service provider and the agency utilizing the service. Specifics covered in this course include:
- An overview of the Maryland ICAC’s role and why they promote wellness in the workplace.
- The full process of implementing their wellness program from brainstorming, fact gathering, roll-out, to measuring success and their continuous effort to improve the program.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as defined in the DSM and what exposes an individual to PTSD.
- Trauma and the typical trauma response symptoms.
- Intervention through reducing cortisol, the stress hormone, and activating the release of endorphins, the happy hormone.
- The concept of sensation seeking, the neurobiology and types of individuals who fall under the sensation-seeking personality.
- Why the sensation-seeking personalities are most fit working in stressful environments and the problematic aspects of sensation-seeking.
- Researches that provide insights on the risk of trauma and stress among child exploitation investigators and the link of wellness to job performance.
- Tips on de-stressing, living a life of resiliency through stress-management, the core elements of resilience and how to build resilience.
- Best practices when viewing content to avoid triggering trauma, and high-risk symptoms to watch out for.
- The specifics of the program designed by Duane specifically for the Maryland ICAC.
- The poll questions gauged the audience’s perception of traumatic responses and the ICAC personnel’s initiatives towards wellness.
The webinar attendees raised their concerns to Duane and Matthew regarding:
- Use of technology for self-care purposes
- Programs that may be applied to correctional facilities
- Best practices to deal with cases and cope with burn out
- Budget for the wellness program
- Applying rotational policies
- Getting personnel’s buy-in to be a part of the wellness initiative