Reopening and Rebuilding: Addressing Secondary Trauma on the Front Lines

Thursday, July 8, 2021

As Covid-19 vaccination rates increase and infections plummet, our society is reopening and a feeling of normalcy is returning for many of us. But those hit hardest by the pandemic, including immigrants and people of color, are returning to communities devastated by a disproportionately high death toll, rampant job loss, and the compounding traumas of the past four years, including hostile immigration policies, toxic rhetoric, surging hate crimes, and a massive racial reckoning. Not everyone has the privilege of returning to normal, and, even before the pandemic, “normal” was not working for everyone.
These compounding traumas and accumulating stresses have taken a toll on those most directly impacted, but they have also overwhelmed and emotionally burdened those on the front lines caring for community members. Organizations that experience secondary traumatic stress are the same organizations funders entrust with confronting some of the most challenging problems in our communities. Thus, philanthropic support for education, prevention, and mitigation of secondary traumatic stress is a crucial component of effective, efficient, and humane service delivery.
Funders can respond to these realities by accurately understanding the needs of frontline service providers and challenges regarding secondary traumatic stress, and by providing flexible, informed support in the form of funding, training, and other actions. To realize a truly equitable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the immigrant justice movement must be sustainable, which means having a solid, well-resourced infrastructure in place that allows for adequate self-care and healing.
The backbone of any movement is its people. We must care for those who are caring for others so they can continue to tackle the most pressing issues facing our communities. GCIR is committed to supporting an equitable and sustainable recovery that prioritizes the health and well-being of those doing the essential work on the front lines. To learn more, read GCIR’s 2020 report on secondary traumatic stress and join us for a strategy session in August.