As I’m writing this, Kansas has confirmed its 15th case of the novel coronavirus and our teams have switched to telecommuting for the foreseeable future. At the same time, our public health and healthcare partners are working tirelessly to protect our families, friends, and neighbors – some bravely putting themselves in harm’s way to keep others safe. This also likely means they aren’t the most popular people in our communities as we are asked to institute “social distancing” and stay away from public gathering spaces. As we lead our work with helping others become more Trauma-Informed in how they conduct their work, I’m reminded that the process challenges us to be more kind to others – and that “kind” and “nice” are not always the same thing. Setting clear expectations and enforcing them can be a form of kindness…but it doesn’t necessarily feel “nice”. Add to that the anxiety, fear and worry that many of us are experiencing and we may find it difficult to be either of these things.
During this time, it will be important that we practice good individual self-care and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released some tips for us to do just that. But above all, we need to take good care of each other. You may need to check with others in your family, workplace or community more frequently than usual. Organizations can work to find safe and appropriate ways to care for their employees – whether they are on the front lines, working from home, or dealing with frightened customers at our grocery stores and pharmacies. Some communities, like here in Wichita, have rallied volunteers to pick up groceries for our more vulnerable neighbors or found ways to provide food to those most affected by the changes. Encourage those who may be experiencing symptoms of severe stress to seek help.
To all our partners and friends who are working to keep us healthy and safe…we see you and we thank you. It will be your “kindness” that will be appreciated and remembered as we move forward together.