“NY Community Trust recognizes that mental and emotional health is a strong component to the overall wellbeing of all New Yorkers."
– Lisa Furst, Chief Program Officer, Vibrant Emotional Health
Shortly after the pandemic hit, a longtime, philanthropic funder of Vibrant, The New York Community Trust, contacted us asking what the two organizations could do together to support the emotional health of frontline workers across New York City. Health and social service providers were coping with enormous stresses. Many were still providing in-person care, living with constant fear for their own health. For providers who had transitioned to providing services remotely for the first time, offering the same work through a new modality resulted in new pressures.
Recognizing the limitations on in-person gatherings, the Trust provided Vibrant with a grant to develop online trauma-informed learning opportunities for health and social service providers. This work was meant to help frontline workers feel seen and heard, and offer ways to facilitate their own emotional well-being.
This was really our first foray into digital learning. The series we created builds off of trauma-informed courses we had already developed for live, in-person consumption prior to the pandemic. The format shift pushed us to think very differently about how we wanted to deliver information. What once was a three-hour long in-person workshop, was now condensed to one-hour online, distilling the most important points and the most salient practices in the most accessible format.
One of our courses – “Staying in Balance: Healthy Solutions for Managing Workplace Stress” – focuses on meeting the unique emotional needs of providers who feel burned out. The course defines what stress is and how it affects us physically and emotionally. We offer providers an opportunity to take a self-care assessment where they evaluate activities to recharge. Discovering what might support the well-being of a provider can help to balance out the hard work that they do every day in the community.
Since the series launched, nearly 1,000 frontline workers have taken these courses and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback. The participants are sharing with us that the courses feel timely, relevant and accessible. And they’re asking Vibrant to produce more, so we really see this as an opportunity for Vibrant to offer providers in New York City and beyond more ways to feel seen and heard.