A support worker who works at a residential care facility reached out for support. He explained that he had been off work since April after he had been violently assaulted onsite by one of the service users. Police were called to the scene and immediately after the incident took place, the participant took a leave of absence.
Within a couple of minutes in speaking with the clinician about the incident, he became tearful. He explained that the aftermath of the assault was ongoing in terms of the legal aspects of the incident. The participant went on to describe a recent incident where he had been out on the street and saw a young man shouting. He became completely triggered and overwhelmed in the moment.
He said that he cares a lot about the people he works with and that he finds meaning at work. He found that his time off work was quite challenging. However, he went on to explain that he felt let down by the workplace and management. He felt that they had failed to protect him properly.
Single incident trauma is a normal response an individual experiences to a situation that is not normal. The clinician explained that even if there is a small thing that reminded the participant of the incident, he will have trigger symptoms. This can be incredibly frightening for an individual who was the victim of an assault. One of the best kinds of support that an individual can receive after experiencing such a situation is to explain the phenomenon and normalise the emotions and feelings. The clinician normalised the PTSD symptoms he was experiencing, like the incident he experienced on the street of a young man shouting that triggered some symptoms.
Upon further discussion with the clinician, he said he had attempted suicide previously after his marriage had broken down. And he recognised the feelings and emotions he was going through right now. He went on to say that he felt he was carrying a heavy weight with him all the time. The clinician provided education on protective factors and validated the strengths of the participant which included the following: his son and the fact that he writes his own music. The participant mentioned that he drew on these factors in his life heavily for processing his emotions.
The participant was very grateful and thanked the clinician for listening and validating his concerns. By the end of the call, he felt a sense of validation and mentioned that he was planning to go out and plan a walk around the park. It’s one of those simple but effective self-care techniques the clinician had shared with him. He had mentioned having days where he had no energy for anything, but he was going from the conversation with the clinician straight for a walk. The call with the clinician helped the participant become more energised after the call.
The work that we do is important knowing that he can pick up the phone anytime and speak to a trained professional and have the normalisation and strategising of self-care. The clinician mentioned that the EAP would be on hand 24/7 should he require further support.