Conversations about painful subjects

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When people are exposed to working in difficult circumstances, such as the COVID-19 crisis, it is possible for them to experience trauma. This trauma can then overwhelm their ability to cope when faced with threat, or when they believe there is a serious threat confronting them.

Being able to talk openly and honestly about their experiences can help people to recover from trauma, but it can be difficult to know how to start such conversations. This guide from Our NHS People is designed to help NHS line managers encourage their staff open up about potentially traumatic things they have seen at work, be able to listen non-judgmentally and signpost to further help if required.

While this guide was originally written for NHS staff, it might also be useful for other workers who are on the front line of the coronavirus response.

It is broken up into multiple short sections, focusing on different aspects of these conversations to consider. These include:

  • understanding what trauma and moral injury is,
  • an explanation of what recovery might look like,
  • why this is important to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • considering if you are the right person to be having these conversations, and
  • links to further reading if required.

You can choose to make an account on the Our NHS People site, even if you do not work for the NHS. This allows you to track your progress through this guide and many others, and lets you return to the place you left off if you have to stop part way through a section. Click here to create an account or log in. However, you do not need to make an account to access it if you’d prefer not to.

To see the full list of guides available from Our NHS People, click here.

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