Making Self-Care a Priority

The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) links information about all types of violent deaths (including homicides and suicides) – gathering data on the who, when, where, why and how surrounding these deaths. It is the only state-based surveillance system for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that pools data elements from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner records and law enforcement records into one database. Data Abstractors play a critical role in the success of NVDRS, as they are responsible for gathering and culling the information surrounding violent deaths from multiple data sources and linking them together in the surveillance system. Given the gravity of the subject matter of NVDRS, abstractors may be prone to professional burnout and may need strong support and self-care practices to maintain mental wellbeing. In a survey conducted with NVDRS abstractors across the U.S., participants responded that they experienced symptoms of stress, had difficulty in consistently getting enough sleep, and spent less time in social activities. It is important that processes and procedures are in place to assess staff wellbeing, provide ample opportunity for self-care, and connect staff to appropriate resources (e.g., employee assistance programs, counseling services, etc.). Signs of stress and burnout are listed below along with prevention tips and resources to assist with stress management and self-care.

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