How to support a colleague showing signs of secondary trauma stress

If you are concerned that a colleague’s wellbeing is suffering due to their job, consider:

  • reaching out and talking to them individually about the impact of the work;
  • helping them establish a consistent work-to-home transition that creates an important boundary and safe place outside the workplace;
  • encouraging them to attend to the basics—sleep, healthy eating, hygiene, and exercise;
  • supporting connections with family, friends, and coworkers;
  • referring them to internal support structures such as a peer support team, and encouraging them to discuss their experience with their supervisor.

From Vicarious trauma to resilience

Development of vicarious trauma is not a given. Indeed, witnessing survivors overcome trauma and demonstrating an immense capacity to heal can have a hugely positive and inspiring affect.

Herman (1995) stated “trauma work enriches workers’ lives, increases their appreciation of life and their understanding of themselves and others, and enables them to form new relationships and deepen existing relationships

Recent research has termed this vicarious resilience. Further reading on this can be found here.


How to support a colleague you are concerned about


Developing a staff resilience and wellbeing strategy