WHAT WE LEARNED FROM 2020
BE AGILE, FLEXIBLE,
& PRACTICE SELF-CARE
By — MAGGIE PRITCHARD, LRMHC CEO
Annual reports are all about reflection. And as we reflect back on 2020 and COVID-19, it is safe to say no one could have predicted the challenges the staff at Lakes Region Mental Health Center would face this year. But we understood early in this journey that the “winds” were changing and we needed to adjust our “sails” to continue to serve our patients who needed us more than ever.
Adjusting our sails early meant adapting to new technology to deliver health care. It became clear that our staff members were essential workers, so we had to make some changes in our new reality. We purchased iPhones and laptops. We learned how to use virtual meeting applications. Our staff members assisted patients in navigating a new way to access services. We also needed to continue to meet some of our patients face to face or meet them in their homes if they were not able to go out into the community. Our leadership team quickly embraced CDC guidelines, which kept our offices open and our staff members working safely. We also continued to help patients access food, shelter and primary health care.
As the winds changed, we quickly learned we had to step up our game in connecting to and caring for our staff. We had to rely on the trainings and information we had so long embraced regarding compassion fatigue, burn out, stress reduction and self-care. Those concepts were seen “up close and personal” this year.
The staff members here are remarkable human beings who often place others before themselves, working hard during times of workforce shortages to ensure patients receive the treatment they need to be successful in their recovery. The self-care for our staff is a top priority as we continuously respond to their needs as parents, care givers and members of a family with individual needs and challenges during this turbulent time.
When speaking with new staff, I make it a practice to emphasize the need to embrace hard work and flexibility. I struggle with describing what exactly that means for each of their positions. I do know this is something we value and expect at LRMHC. My intent is not to scare anyone off but rather to be transparent about how hard our work is, as this is a reality we must accept. We need staff to understand their role and responsibility in being agile in our work environment. Building a team filled with staff who embrace and value this position helped us face the challenges presented by the pandemic head on, with collective courage, strength and determination.
LRMHC is acutely aware that each person’s journey is unique and often requires additional support, true more so with the stress of this health care crisis. We continue to provide quality treatment, focused and available to ALL our community members.
Stay safe and healthy each and every one of you and believe in our collective resilience.