Upcoming Carebridge Sessions

Carebridge Corporation, Cooper’s employee assistance program, is offering several free, online support sessions and live webinars in October.

Virtual Support Groups:

    • Learning How to Open Up to People
    • Getting the Legal Stuff Done Now
    • Responding to Your Child’s Report Card Constructively
    • Myths about Grief and Grieving

Live Webinars:

    • Strategies to Improve Your Mental Health
    • I am Enough – learn to quiet your inner critic and increase self-confidence

For additional information and to register for a session, click here.

Trauma: Reaction & Recovery

    • It is normal to have strong reactions following a distressing or frightening event. Such stress reactions are normal and not weakness. Most people recover in time.
    • People can experience a range of physical, mental, emotional and behavioral reactions.
    • There are many things you can do to cope with and recover from trauma.
    • Seek professional help if you don’t begin to return to normal after three or four weeks.

Reactions to Trauma

All kinds of trauma create stress reactions. People often say that their first feeling is relief to be alive after a traumatic event. This may be followed by stress, fear and anger. Trauma may also lead people to find they are unable to stop thinking about what happened. Traumatic events can create a high level of arousal—or feeling alert or “on guard”—as well, which causes people to react strongly to sounds and sights around them.

The way a person reacts to trauma depends on the type and severity of the traumatic event, whether the person has any previous relevant experience or training, if they are active or helpless, the amount of available support following the incident, other current stressors in the person’s life, their personality, natural levels of resilience, and any previous traumatic experiences.

Common reactions can include:

    • Losing hope for the future
    • Feeling distant (detached) or losing a sense of concern about others
    • Being unable to concentrate or make decisions
    • Feeling jumpy and getting startled easily at sudden noises
    • Feeling on guard and alert all the time
    • Having dreams and memories that upset you
    • Having problems at work or school
    • Avoiding people, places and things related to the event

You may also experience more physical reactions such as:

    • Stomach upset and trouble eating
    • Trouble sleeping and feeling very tired
    • Pounding heart, rapid breathing, feeling shaky
    • Sweating
    • Severe headache if thinking of the event
    • Not keeping up with exercise, diet, safe sex or regular health care
    • Smoking more, using alcohol or drugs more, or eating too much
    • Having your ongoing medical problems get worse

You may have more emotional troubles such as:

    • Feeling nervous, helpless, fearful, sad
    • Feeling shocked, numb, or not able to feel love or joy
    • Being irritable or having angry outbursts
    • Getting easily upset or agitated
    • Blaming yourself or having negative views of oneself or the world
    • Being unable to trust others, getting into fights, or being trying to control everything
    • Being withdrawn, feeling rejected, or abandoned
    • Feeling detached, not wanting intimacy

Making sense of the traumatic event

Once the distressing event is over, you may find yourself trying to make sense of the event. This can include thinking about how and why it happened, how and why you were involved, why you feel the way you do, whether feelings you are having indicate what kind of person you are, whether the experience has changed your view on life, and how.

Helping resolve traumatic reactions to trauma

There are a number of strategies that can help a person resolve traumatic reactions.

    • Recognize that you have been through a distressing or frightening experience and that you will have a reaction to it.
    • Accept that you will likely not feel your normal self for a period of time
    • Remind yourself daily that you are managing – try not to get angry or frustrated with yourself if you are not able to do things as well or efficiently as normal.
    • Don’t overuse alcohol or drugs to help you cope.
    • Avoid making major decisions or big life changes until you feel better.
    • Gradually confront what has happened – don’t try to block it out.
    • Express your feelings as they arise – talk to someone about your feelings or write them down.
    • Try to keep to your normal routine and stay busy.
    • When you feel exhausted, make sure you set aside time to rest.
    • Help your family and friends to help you by telling them what you need, such as time out or someone to talk to.
    • Relax – use relaxation techniques such as yoga, breathing or meditation, or do things you enjoy, such as listening to music or gardening.

Healing and recovery process after trauma

Any event that places a person’s own life or the lives of others at risk results in the human body going into a state of heightened arousal. This is like an ‘emergency mode’ that involves a series of internal alarms being turned on. Emergency mode gives people a lot of energy in a short period of time to maximize the chance of survival.

Most people only stay in emergency mode for a short period of time or until the immediate threat has passed, but sometimes people keep going into it afterwards when unexpected things happen. Being in emergency mode uses up vital energy supplies and this is why people often feel tired afterwards.

The normal healing and recovery process involves the body coming down out of heightened arousal. The internal alarms can turn off, the high levels of energy subside, and the body can re-set itself to a normal state of balance and equilibrium. Typically, this should occur within approximately one month of the event.

Seeking help from a health professional after a traumatic event

Traumatic stress can cause very strong reactions in some people and may become chronic (ongoing). You should seek professional help if you:

    • are feeling very distressed after the event
    • are unable to handle the intense feelings or physical sensations
    • don’t have normal feelings, but continue to feel numb and empty
    • feel that you are not beginning to return to normal after three or four weeks
    • continue to have physical stress symptoms
    • continue to have disturbed sleep or nightmares
    • deliberately try to avoid anything that reminds you of the traumatic experience
    • have no one you can share your feelings with
    • find that relationships with family and friends are suffering
    • are becoming accident-prone and using more alcohol or drugs
    • cannot return to work or manage responsibilities
    • keep reliving the traumatic experience
    • feel very much on edge and can be easily startled.

Summing It All Up

Right after a trauma, almost every survivor will find it hard to stop thinking about what happened. Stress reactions—such as fear, anxiety, jumpiness, upsetting memories, and efforts to avoid reminders—will gradually decrease over time for most people.

Use your personal support systems, family and friends, when you are ready to talk. Or, be a support for someone you care about who has been through a trauma. Recovery is an ongoing gradual process that takes time. Don’t look for a quick “cure” or assume that you will forget what happened. Most people will recover from trauma on their own. If your emotional reactions are getting in the way of your relationships, work or other important activities, you may want to talk to a counselor or your doctor. Good treatments are available.

To learn more, check out the resources below:

For resources available for CUH team members,
check out our Well-Being Services page.

Carebridge Virtual Support Groups

Carebridge Corporation, Cooper’s employee assistance program, is offering several free, online support sessions through June 2022.

    • How to Help Your Child or Teen When They Worry 
    • Stress Check-In: Experiencing Grief Post-Pandemic
    • Live Webinar: Supporting Your LGBTQ+ Family Members

For additional information and to register for a session, click here.

Annual Psychology Day – 2022

April 21, 2022, marks the 15th Annual Psychology Day at the United Nations (UN). This yearly event celebrates psychologists and highlights the importance of psychology in a global context. It also provides an opportunity to demonstrate to the public the multitude of ways that psychologists improve society. While the UN day focuses on psychologists who use their research and clinical experience to contribute to the protection of human rights and healing those who have suffered abuse and trauma, there are countless other areas where psychologists, clinical and non-clinical, are making a difference.

The field of psychology is broad, and its applications and contributions are vast, with many psychologists contributing in academic health systems such as Cooper. Cooper’s growing group of psychologists join their colleagues in other medical centers across the country and the world in applying their extensive training in behavioral science to health care research, clinical care, wellness initiatives, and the education of medical students, graduate students, pre- and post-doctoral psychology fellows, intern and resident physicians, and other health professionals. This same clinical and research experience benefits health systems such as Cooper when psychologists contribute to institutional governance, research, educational programs, administration, leadership, and policy development.

Cooper is fortunate to have clinical psychologists across multiple departments, and will be welcoming even more in the coming months and years to assure we are providing care for the entire person. Today we honor our Cooper psychologists by highlighting their unique contributions. Click here to learn more!

Tree Planting in Camden (4/16, 4/30)

Organizations like the Center for Environmental Transformation and the NJ Tree Foundation have taken an active role in greening Camden. CMSRU and our residents have been partnering with the NJ Tree Foundation for years, going out into the community to plant trees throughout neighborhoods of Camden.

This month, we will host two events on 4/16 and 4/30. We will be meeting at the intersection of 6th & Benson Streets for the planting. The planting will be located on both sides of Benson Street leading up to Broadway, with 7 pits on Broadway as part of this project. The event runs from 9am-12pm and volunteers should plan to arrive between 8:30-9. NJTF provides all tools, water, gloves, and training. Volunteers should dress for the weather and wear close-toed shoes. If you are interested, please fill out the Volunteer RSVP Form. Please contact Meredith Pichini (mbrown@njtreefoundation.org) with questions.

This event is open to all CUH Team Members! For a complete list of Earth Month events and challenges check out http://wellness.cooperhealth.org/environmental/

Interested in incorporating more wellness into your work day?
Check out the Zenith Climb! Click the link below for more information:
http://wellness.cooperhealth.org/zenith-climb/

February is Random Acts of Kindness Month

For the month of February, we are celebrating random acts of kindness (RAK) at Cooper. Scientific evidence shows us the positive effects of doing kind acts for others as well as receiving or even witnessing kindness.

Wondering how to participate? It’s easy! Check out RAK Calendars for inspiration:

In service of this initiative, the C.A.R.E. Team is acknowledging Cooper Team Members engaging in acts of kindness with a kindness coin!

If interested in participating, reach out to the C.A.R.E. Team to request a bag of kindness coins (see below). Please be mindful of hand hygiene and use hand sanitizer before sharing!

 

GME Wellness Event (11/17/21)

The GME Wellness Committee is hosting an in-person event for medical residents next Wednesday, 11/17/21, at the main hospital in Conference Room 121 from 1:00-3:00pm.

The focus of the event is on gratitude. A delightful fall-themed spread will be available for pick up or eat in (space allowing) along with therapy dogs, arts and crafts, and music.

As we consider all the things we should be thankful for, we should also extend kindness to those less fortunate. Donations are being requested for Cathedral Kitchen and there will be a box set up in the Conference Center on 11/17/21.

    • Here are some food items that they have requested:
      • Cans of gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn
      • Boxes of stuffing, instant potatoes, rice
      • Olive oil, blended oil, peanut butter, jelly, vinegar(s)
      • Small snack bags (pretzels, nuts, healthy snacks, etc.)
    • Toiletries are welcomed as well:
      • Washcloths
      • Sample size – body wash, lotion, hand sanitizer
      • Underwear – Men’s Boxers and Women’s Hipster Briefs

Looking forward to seeing you there!