Self Care for Community Health Workers

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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Health Workers (CHWs) have been called upon to step-up, and they have. From providing education messages to people of diverse cultures, languages and backgrounds, to linking COVID-19 patients and their families to essential resources, to assuring people in their communities understand and have access to vaccines, CHWs have been there.

George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police in May 2020 also deeply impacted CHWs and their communities, and the mental health impacts of diverse communities addressing both COVID-19 and racism expanded.

CHWs need to take care of themselves so they can continue in service to their communities. For this reason, NRC-RIM is partnering with CHW Solutions to develop, pilot and distribute a CHW self-care curriculum. The curriculum will have information, tools and resources focused specifically on the needs of CHWs, to help them maintain their own health, energy, drive and capacity to serve populations most at-risk for COVID-19 and the underlying conditions contributing to its impact.

The goal of the curriculum is to have self-care information, tools and resources readily available to CHWs in a format addressing their unique needs as frontline public health workers reaching communities most at-risk for COVID-19 and other health issues. It will also include links to other related resources CHWs will find helpful to assure they are keeping themselves healthy as they take care of their communities. 

Preview what to expect

Watch the webinar we conducted in December 2020, CHWs and COVID-19: Trauma, Hope and Helping Others - Are You Pouring From an Empty Cup?, geared at community health workers experiencing compassion fatigue and secondary stress. Let us know how we might expand on this as we develop our curriculum.

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Tell your story

If you are a community health worker, you know that this work is both rewarding and challenging. Tell us about your work and the things you do to take care of your mental health. Your story will inform the curriculum currently under development. If you wish, we can also feature your story on our website. 

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Read the playbook

Check out the Playbook for Local Public Health Department Strategies in the United States created by the Community-Based Workforce Alliance for information on how you can support CHWs in your organization. Short on time? We have a summary online.

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Make a plan

Use the information from the playbook, and find inspiration from our pilot program in Steele County, MN, to make a plan for integrating CHWs in your community's COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.