Sheldon, Iowa — A Sheldon mental health office and one in Spirit Lake have received a grant for “Self-Care Rooms.”
According to Seasons Center for Behavioral Health officials, the Sioux Rivers Mental Health Region has awarded Seasons Center $2,650 to create and furnish the Self-Care Rooms.
They point to the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason behind the move. They say the pandemic has had a lasting impact on the mental health workforce and the individuals and families served at Seasons. Seasons Center staff says that for some staff, providing care and services during the pandemic led to stress, anxiety, fear, and other strong emotions. And they say that how staff members are supported in coping with these emotions can affect their well-being, the care and services they give to others while doing their job, and the well-being of the people they care about outside of work.
Seasons Center officials tell us the purpose of the self-care rooms is to provide additional supports for agency staff experiencing emotional exhaustion and compassion fatigue and to provide a space for individuals and families receiving services to practice mindfulness and self-care. The funding received will allow Seasons Center to purchase trauma-informed furnishings and décor and self-care and mindfulness resources that facilitate a calm, soothing environment.
Seasons Center’s Vice President for Program Coordination and Compliance, Christina Eggink-Postma, says, “The pandemic added to many existing stressors of working in mental health, including working with complex, high-needs families amongst intense workplace shortages. Staff working in these conditions have been susceptible to compassion fatigue: the combination of burnout and secondary traumatic stress.”
She says that in addition, Seasons has been challenged with meeting the ongoing needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities – adults with serious mental illness, children with serious emotional disturbances, abused and neglected children, members of the military, veterans, and their families, and victims of crime. According to Eggink-Postma, individuals and families experiencing these challenges and stressors often do not have time, space, or opportunity to address their mental health needs. She says, “We are hopeful these dedicated spaces will allow staff and clients the opportunity to practice self-care and mindfulness and to use the resources and skills learned to take meaningful, concrete steps to improve their mental health.”