Self-Care Plans for All Staff Members
Joseph Benamati (bio) emphasizes the need for all staff members to have a self-care plan.
We train everybody because, again, sometimes these are the people that have the most unsupervised but closest contact with kids. And they need to know, maybe even more so than teachers, what's going on so that they can be really mindful. Because a bus driver or a bus aide is under pretty extreme stress.
And they get constant assault. They need to know how to handle themselves, because they can do lots of damage in a very short amount of time and hurt people because they've been hurt. And that's what Sanctuary says, "Hurt people hurt people."
We try to help people not involve themselves in survival coping. Survival coping is that kind of desperation, that, "I'm going to go out and get drunk," "I'm going to go home and kick the dog," "I'm going to go and do really risky kinds of things because I just want to feel a rush. I want to feel relief. I want to — because my work is so difficult." We don't want them doing survival coping; we want them doing adaptive or positive coping strategies.
And so we help all staff develop their own self-care plan and a safety plan. All of us have our safety plan. I have mine on my ID. I also have it in my phone because I lose a lot of my IDs. So I have it in my phone. And everybody from a CEO, or a superintendent, or whoever is the head of an agency, all the way through to the maintenance person, the bus driver, the cook has a safety plan.
Excerpted from an interview at CBITS Summit 2012 in Santa Monica, CA.