The Witness to Witness Program (W2W):
Using Handouts and Blogs to Exemplify Social Justice Principles
Keywords:Community Mental Health, Disaster, Social Justice, Anti-Racism.
The Witness to Witness Program (W2W), based on Weingarten’s witnessing model (2000, 2003, 2004), began in July 2018 and originally was established to support health care workers and attorneys (our partners) who were experiencing empathic distress working with people involved in various stages of the detention process. The W2W program evolved to offer four primary components: clinician listening sessions geared to deep understanding of the person’s story of their work and its challenges; an inventory of the person’s current internal and external resources both in the present and the past; help with removal of barriers to those resources; and development of a personal toolkit to handle stress. Additional services available to partners and their organizations included psycho-educational webinars, facilitated peer support groups, and organizational consultations to foster trauma-sensitive and resilience-hardy work environments. In March, after lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, W2W pivoted to focus on webinars, handouts, peer support groups, and blogs addressing salient issues arising during the SARS-COV2 pandemic. Disaster sparked collaboration and innovation. All W2W work, including the written work, exemplifies a set of social justice principles that strengthen health justice and equity. Much of the W2W work is translated into Spanish so that we are able to reach healthcare workers who primarily work with disenfranchised and historically marginalized communities.
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