New Hampshire Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services is piloting a new initiative to reduce the effects of exposure to trauma among the behavioral health workforce and create workplaces where everyone thrives.

The Goal

To protect and support the behavioral health workforce.

Research shows those who care for trauma-affected clients can experience serious issues, including

  • Exhaustion
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Disruptive thoughts
  • Numbness to client concerns
  • Detachment from work
  • Inability to cope with everyday issues
  • Fear and anxiety

What is Thriving in the Workplace?

Thriving in the Workplace is a new project supported by the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) to address the effects of secondary exposure to trauma among the behavioral health workforce. With funding and support from the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs, BDAS commissioned a research brief titled “Effective Strategies for Improving Substance Use Workforce Retention by Preventing and Reducing Issues Caused by Secondary Exposure to Client Trauma.” This brief explores how to prevent compassion fatigue and other occupational stressors causing SUD treatment professionals to leave the field in growing numbers. Findings from this research are being used to pilot two sites in 2022–2023: Greater Nashua Mental Health and Southeastern New Hampshire Services. These two agencies are working with BDAS, the New Hampshire Technical Assistance Center (NHTAC), and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW).

CSW is a national nonprofit that specializes in trauma-informed and resilience-building approaches. CSW is working in partnership with NHTAC and the two pilot sites to implement tailored interventions to address secondary exposure to trauma in the workplace.

Our Partners

This Initiative Focuses on Three Main Strategies:

The principles that guide trauma-informed care can also improve wellness for behavioral health staff.

Increase personal and organizational awareness

Staff engage in discussions, tailored trainings and coaching sessions, and assessments of how secondary exposure to trauma impacts them, their clients, and organizational culture.

Develop a personal and professional self-protection plan

Staff receive tailored assistance and coaching to develop self-protection plans that foster well-being and professional development.

Cultivate a supportive work environment

Staff help create a work environment where everyone thrives. Key strategies include the use of resiliency-based approaches, enhanced communication and collaboration at all levels, and health-promoting organizational policies and procedures. 

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