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Core Concepts: Addressing Compassion in Challenging Environments

Core Concepts: Addressing Compassion in Challenging Environments

Southcentral Foundation is working with the State of Alaska’s Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention (OSMAP) to offer several sessions of Core Concepts: Addressing Compassion in Challenging Environments at various locations in Alaska. The training is based on SCF’s Core Concepts, and is targeted for emergency responders and others whose jobs confront substance misuse in high-stress situations. Although the sessions have been attended by State of Alaska employees, they are not limited to state employees only. SCF has worked with OSMAP to open the training to all those who may have need of it.

The training is being offered in response to the opioid crisis in Alaska, which resulted in 100 overdose deaths in 2017. Opioid overdose accounted for 3.5 percent of all deaths in Alaska in 2017. Recognizing the stress that emergency responders and others who confront substance misuse are under, OSMAP worked with SCF to offer this training to support them as they do their jobs. The training was funded through the CDC Opioid Crisis Cooperative Agreement.

In order to tailor the training for this audience, additional material was added about compassion fatigue and adverse childhood experiences. Compassion fatigue is physical, emotional, and/or spiritual depletion associated with caring for people in significant emotional and physical distress. The material added was designed to help participants recognize the signs of compassion fatigue, and provide tools for them to practice self-care when needed.

Adverse childhood experiences include abuse, neglect, other traumatic experiences, and/or witnessing household dysfunction such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and other traumatic events. The material on adverse childhood experiences was designed to help participants understand the role these experiences can play in substance misuse, as well as the other risk factors associated with people impacted by adverse childhood experiences.

In addition to the customized material, Core Concepts teaches participants communication techniques and skills for building strong, effective relationships. These kinds of relationships can be of tremendous benefit for emergency responders, and for those who help people impacted by substance misuse.

Feedback from the sessions hosted so far has been positive. Attendees were surveyed after each session, and respondents gave high ratings to questions of whether they would use the material presented to improve relationships with the people they serve, and whether the tools provided during the training would help them address compassion fatigue they experience in their jobs.

For more information on the OSMAP Core Concepts sessions, or on customizable Core Concepts for other organizations, contact the SCF Learning Institute today!

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