Front-line caregivers, including health care workers and school-based providers, have endured atypically high stress levels since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. High mortality, increased health care demands, rationing of basic health care supplies, and moral injury are common causes of burnout during an infectious disease outbreak. In addition to the harmful mental health impacts, burnout can impact performance, meaning it is crucial for us to make the mental health and well-being of these populations a priority.
Fortunately, there are steps we can take to improve professional well-being. While many people, especially in health care, are likely familiar with self-care strategies, these strategies are often misunderstood or underutilized. Sometimes, attention to well-being can even feel challenging or burdensome. Our goal is to help providers incorporate research-backed well-being practices into their lives in new and innovative ways.
Our Approach: The Adult Resilience Curriculum (ARC)
The Adult Resilience Curriculum, or ARC, is a 10-module model for implementing well-being at both the individual and organizational level. The curriculum is rooted in adult positive psychology and organizational well-being theories, and it has been adapted to apply across medical and educational settings.
The ARC was initially developed in 2013 by Clayton Cook, PhD, and Gail Joseph, PhD, for pre- and in-service teachers1. It was later adapted for the Mid-America MHTTC by Aria Fiat, PhD and Andrew Thayer, PhD.
ARC learners are expected to engage with the "core" modules — Modules 0-5 and Module 10 — at minimum. Modules 0 and 1 introduce the ARC framework and cover foundational knowledge of stress and well-being. Modules 2-5 cover non-negotiable well-being concepts including organizational (contextual) well-being, values identification, mindfulness, and connection. In Module 10, learners reflect upon the skills they've acquired and create an individual wellness plan for the future.
Each module is equipped with corresponding activities for learners to complete. The activities are intrinsic to the curriculum package, and therefore learners are strongly encouraged to complete them.
- Adult Resilience Curriculum (ARC) Workbook for Professionals [Interactive] - The Adult Resilience Curriculum (ARC) Workbook for Professionals is a resource for professionals experiencing stress and burnout to use in conjunction with the ARC. Learners can use the workbook whether following along with the modules individually or as part of an organization. The workbook covers the core modules and provides space for activities and note-taking. Interested in obtaining hard copies? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
- Burnout Busters | The Podcast - Well-being is likely a familiar concept to most health care providers, but misunderstood or underutilized when applying it to themselves. Burnout Busters helps health care workers make sense of the wealth of well-being research and apply these tried and true practices to their own lives and organizations. Well-versed in well-being, Drs. Jordan Thayer and Hannah West help providers identify their values, begin their mindfulness journey, and engage in activities that reinforce the principles of well-being. They also discuss how health care organizations can prioritize and support well-being in the workplace. Join us for practical tips and strategies, guest experts, and more.
- Supporting Professional Well-Being in Health Care: An HHS Region 7 Town Hall Event - This virtual town hall event held in April 2021 provides information on the current context of professional well-being within health care and features several regional experts focusing on supporting organizational well-being within their health care systems. Panelists from various large hospital systems share strategies and lessons learned from implementing employee well-being initiatives at the organizational level.
- The 30 Days of Mental Health Challenge Calendar - This is a downloadable version of the 30 Days of Mental Health Challenge Calendar. What started as an annual Mid-America MHTTC social media campaign is now an undated daily calendar so that you can work to better your well-being at any time of the year. This calendar is full of daily challenges that aim to build and strengthen your mental well-being and resilience in small steps. If you would like a physical copy, please reach out to us at [email protected].
We have many exciting (and free) materials in development. Check back soon for updates.
Resources for primary care providers experiencing stress related to COVID-19 or other health care crises - This handout contains a brief overview of stressors facing primary care providers as well as a compilation of helpful resources for addressing them.
Well-Being Wednesdays: Taking Care of Educators Who Take Care of Kids Webinar Series - This monthly series (concluded June 2021) walks attendees through each of the ARC modules in short, 30-minute webinars.
National Perspectives on Organizational Well-Being - Access free webinars and resources from our two-day symposium featuring national leaders in well-being in August 2021.
Provider Well-Being | MHTTC Network - This web page contains a compilation of upcoming events, products, and resources from across the MHTTC Network.
1Cook, C. R., Miller, F. G., Fiat, A., Renshaw, T., Frye, M., Joseph, G. E., & Decano, P. (2017). Promoting secondary teachers’ well-being and intentions to implement evidence- based practices: randomized evaluation of the achiever resilience curriculum. Psychology in the Schools, 54(1), 13-28. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.21980 [doi.org]