Mental Health and Self-Care

Our work is important because many staff members work with adult and children immigrants to ensure that they get the very best legal representation. Especially for children who are alone, it is important to discuss it in a way that they would understand. It is a team effort and everyone is expected to put 100% effort into their work. However, it is also important that everyone maintains a good work-life balance and to separate work and personal life especially during these times. I have never interned at an organization that emphasized self-care and mental health as much as CAIR Coalition does. In some of my previous experiences, it is never mentioned or even talked about with staff. For CAIR, we had training on why self-care is important in our field of work. This organization works with people who have faced tough situations and are often traumatized because of it. It could be draining work so it is vital that we continue to practice self-care. If we do not, it can lead to vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and then eventually burnout. Essentially, before we can effectively help others we also must make sure we are okay. It feels nice working at a place that does not think this topic is taboo and we can openly talk about it. In addition, we are able to take time and discuss important issues going on in our world, and the leadership team checks in on staff members to see if everyone is okay. They emphasize that if anyone needs to take a day to recuperate that they should do so. They also continue to create spaces where staff members can connect during this time. 

Everyone acts friendly towards each other. During these past two weeks, different staff members gave training sessions on different topics and it was not uncommon to ask how everyone was and to converse before the meeting started. There are weekly lunch meetings in our team where we can all connect with one another during this time. People always say please and thank you and like to recognize staff members who continue to do great things.