Spring and Summer 2022 virtual training sessions are free and open to the public
EMERSON—As Americans enter the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, HPAE, AFT and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) are joining together to
Spring and Summer 2022 virtual training sessions are free and open to the public EMERSON—As Americans enter the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, HPAE, AFT and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ) are joining together to provide opportunities for all workers to address the emotional and mental strain they are living with while continuing their work. HPAE President Debbie White, RN, said these trainings are not exclusive. In fact, the union encourages anyone who is interested, whether they work in healthcare, construction, hospitality, or any other industry. No one will be rejected; everyone can access these virtual trainings and workshops. Training activities are funded by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to the International Chemical Workers Union Council (ICWUC). ICWUC partnered with HPAE and its parent union, the American Federal of Teachers, to develop the training program.
“Too often we focus on the physical ailments associated with COVID-19 and fail to address the emotional and mental strain the virus has had on everyone’s well-being,” White said in announcing the program.
Visit HPAE.org to view details on the courses offered, which include: ·
- Mental Health First Aid;
- Trauma and Traumatic Stress;
- Coping and Resiliency;
- Creating and Providing Peer to Peer Support.
For more information, please contact: Michael Allen: (646) 436- 7556; firstname.lastname@example.org
MHANJ, whose faculty will conduct the trainings and workshops, is the leading mental health advocacy organization in New Jersey. U.S.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) commended the “humble heroism” of healthcare workers and congratulated HPAE and MHANJ for partnering on such a vitally important program during these challenging times.
“The past two years have been difficult for all New Jerseyans and the COVID-19 pandemic has uniquely impacted New Jersey’s healthcare professionals who have weathered trying circumstances to help our state overcome an unprecedented health crisis,” Sen. Booker said.
“Just as our healthcare heroes cared for us, it’s up to us now to make sure that they are supported given the stress, anxiety, and tragic loss they have endured,” he continued. “I’m therefore proud to join HPAE and MHANJ today to announce the launch of a critical program, funded by a federal grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, that will provide personalized and comprehensive mental health support and education to New Jersey healthcare workers and community members, helping them better cope with and recover from the traumatic situations they experienced during the pandemic.”
HPAE chose to develop the programs after recognizing signs and symptoms of work related stress among their own members, White said.
She added that HPAE identified the need and were excited for the opportunity that the grant presented to coordinate with MHANJ to address the high levels of anxiety and stress workers are experiencing. As a union, we can demand employers improve current working conditions and yet we were compelled to help all workers to overcome and cope with mental health related concerns they are experiencing.
“During the pandemic people have recognized the importance of mental health and are more open and interested in seeking support. We are glad to partner with HPAE to providing health care workers and other professionals with the opportunity to learn more about general mental health, trauma, stress and peer support. This adds to their toolbox to help themselves, their colleagues, their families and their communities,” said Robert Kley, Vice President/COO of MHANJ.
One HPAE member, a critical care nurse saw the devastation of COVID-19 firsthand, reported insomnia and nightmares, while another reported severe anxiety and “crying jags” after caring for COVID patients in an overwhelmed healthcare system. – continue next page – 3 “Nurses are trained to be stoic and remain resilient. As a workforce we must be supported in learning to put on our own oxygen mask first, to ensure we can be strong and move forward to provide care for others,” White said.
Over the last two years, HPAE identified many workplace safety violations across New Jersey, including fake and improper PPE. “Not only were healthcare workers caring for an extremely sick and suffering population, but they were not protected at work—increasing the anxiety and stress level of the employees. Many of our healthcare workers were exposed and infected at work, many with long-lasting side effects. Some died,” White said.
“As a result of the tremendous stress and trauma, many of our healthcare workers have now migrated out of healthcare entirely. Current staff, traumatized by past COVID-19 surges are now working short staffed, creating even more stress,” she added.
“Addressing the staffing shortage crisis is a high priority for our union. These programs we believe can help workers stay on the job, so we can retain our current workforce. Every worker who struggles with their own mental health deserves the opportunity to address their own well being. When workers can feel stronger, they will not only function better on the job, but they will also be stronger advocates for themselves and their colleagues,” White said.
To view the press conference click here, Moving Forward. Getting Stronger. Press Conference 2/28/2022 – YouTube.
The training reported in this press release is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number 5U45ES006162-30. For more information about the grant, please contact The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Office of Communications and Public Liaison: Christine Flowers (919-260-9651, email@example.com) and Robin Mackar (984-287-3355, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556