Connect

Create connection opportunities for supporters in order to normalise struggles, offload frustrations with those who understand, and to problem solve.  Build connections;

  • within the team and the organisation,    
  • with peers facing similar challenges from other organisations
  • with professional supervisor
  • with those who have previous lived experience of a role in disaster recovery

So often a role in recovery feels daunting because of the unchartered nature, lonely because of the isolating nature and fraught because our frame of reference by which to judge success is unfitting. People with a role in recovery are usually new to it and knowing that the untidiness, mixed realities that they see are par for the course, and that their stress reactions may be indicative of the load and not their personal capabilities can be a huge relief. To know you are human, that you are not failing, that you are doing a great job in trying circumstances—these are vital messages and we hear them best from others who are performing similar roles or have experienced recovery previously. These connections also enable the perspective, experience and knowledge of others to be brought to bear in efforts to address current challenges.

A colleague contacted me because she needed to talk to someone who she knew had ‘been there’. I listened to her vent because I knew exactly what she was talking about and she felt understood. Different disaster, but similar culture and similar issues occurred. Jill Hofmann – American Red Cross

As time goes on and their sense of helplessness as to outcomes for survivors increases, they get mingled up and cannot separate themselves from what is happening. Having an external person, outside of the area to be their supporter helps—they know where they are standing, they have the long term perspective and they know what they might be yet to face. Dr Tomoko Osawa – Hyogo Institute for Traumatic Stress, Kobe

I am lucky to have around me a large number of specialists with previous experience who supported me and kept me going. That support is still there for me now. These people are not necessarily with me but even knowing they are there if I need them is a great support. Akiko Sasaki – Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital

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