“Dark humor- it’s just how we cope”.
If you were to mention the topic of “self-care” to a room full of varying Criminal Justice professionals, chances are you will be laughed at. Immediately, and not necessarily openly, many would cite their coping skills and self-care methods as dark humor, drinking, and a lack of steady relationships and it would be welcomed and just considered to be part of the “norm”. Self-care certainly has not been made a top priority in several areas of the Criminal Justice field such as within law enforcement, corrections, and even dispatch.
While this course has been aimed at better understanding forensic psychology, it has also given students the opportunity to take on and recognize the topic of self-care, hopefully instilling its importance in the long run. We know how deeply trauma can affect humans, and we often are taught to look for the signs in the people we work with. What isn’t emphasized, however, is how to recognize the residual effects of the trauma we see and work within our lives. That is why self-care is so important! What is self-care, anyway? Well, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, self-care is “…taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health” (NIMH, 2022). Some ways to achieve self-care include exercising, getting enough sleep, engaging in positive activities that promote deeper connections, and more. One of the biggest steps to self-care is recognizing the need for it and actively making the choice to pursue it! By making self-care and your mental health a priority, we hope to see less burnout and fewer people actively struggling, which then impacts their work, personal lives and so much more.
A FOCUS ON SELF CARE DOES NOT MAKE YOU WEAK.
Please see some of the below links for resources on mental health and self care.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Caring for your mental health. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved August 14, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/caring-for-your-mental-health