Employee Wellness, Jobs, Training and Facilities

Training focuses on Wellness, Stress Resiliency

Woman in crowd experiencing stress and anxiety.
Stress can affect all aspects of life. (Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control.)

In 2022, all CDCR and CCHCS employees will receive a three-hour Wellness and Stress Resiliency course during annual in-service training (IST). Read on to learn more about this new and exciting course.

How did the training come about?

The Office of Employee Wellness (OEW) recently authored, and has begun facilitating, a new stress resiliency lesson plan for CDCR cadets which has been well received by both instructors and cadets.

When Peace Officer Selection and Employee Development (POSED) reviewed the training schedule for the next year, they approached OEW about developing another stress resiliency training which would be taught throughout the department.

This training has themes which have been touched on in previous trainings, but OEW aimed to create a training covering important topics such as how to be well in the midst of difficulties that come with working and living life. It is our hope that this new training, titled “Wellness and Stress Resiliency” helps all employees, regardless of classification, take inventory of what is going well and what can be improved, with the goal of living a more fulfilled and well-balanced life. 

What was involved in creating the new training?

OEW staff from different disciplines worked together to develop the training.

“As we began with ideas for what this training should be, we sought to be realistic yet compassionate and positive. We brainstormed ideas with the awareness that our staff are faced with many compounding stressors, and that we have a very diverse staff, representing many disciplines,” said Dr. Briana Rojas, Chief Psychologist, Associate Director of OEW.

“We set out to create a training that provided as many practical tools and skills as possible and would be applicable to every employee receiving the training. After creating a lesson plan that met our criteria it was reviewed and approved by the Office of Training and Professional Development (OTPD) as well as the Commission on Correctional Peace Officer Standards and Training (CPOST) for the 2022 training calendar.”

What departments were involved in the creation of this training?

The interdisciplinary team from OEW consisted of Kathryn Jue, Analyst; Jonathan Wilson, Correctional Officer; Jennifer Bem, Correctional Officer; and Mai Her-Holloway, Licensed Clinical Social Worker. They wrote the lesson plan, as well as developed and delivered the training. Dr. Rojas coordinated the communication between the two offices and provided oversight and final approval of the project.

Why is Stress and Resiliency training important for staff?

The stress experienced by CDCR staff trying to balance a healthy home life while working in a correctional environment can be a challenge. These last two years of living and working through a pandemic has highlighted, and in a lot of ways, exacerbated the levels of stress some staff experience.

“We know stress can have a huge impact on one’s wellness, and we also know that resiliency and coping strategies are things that can be learned,” Dr. Rojas said. “It is important to bring awareness of actions, strategies, tools, and resources to our staff in an effort to help them mitigate and overcome the negative impact and inherent stressors associated with working in a correctional environment.”

Dr. Rojas said helping staff identify their strengths and learning to utilize the tools described in this lesson plan will help build their stress resiliency and achieve mental and physical wellness.

OEW provides a safe, accessible, and connective space for proactive wellness support, education, and resources for all CDCR, Division of Juvenile Justice, and CCHCS employees.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to OEW if you are seeking resources or support. We can be reached at wellnessnews@cdcr.ca.gov.

Learn more about OEW.

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