By Caitlyn Gudmundsen, Senior Manager of Program Development and Outreach
Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran Services Florida Health Systems, which is working to address crisis fatigue in the community, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and national newfound awareness of systemic racism.
Located in Jacksonville, FL, Lutheran Services Florida (LSF) Health Systems provides behavioral health care for people who face poverty and are without insurance. LSF Health Systems serves 23 counties in Northeast and North Central Florida, and aims to ensure that every child and adult in need receives appropriate services.
Christine Cauffield, licensed clinical psychologist and CEO of LSF Health Systems, spoke on the local news in Jacksonville, FL to make viewers aware of the issue of crisis fatigue. According to Cauffield, there are unprecedented levels of stress resulting from the pandemic, economic downturn, and national awareness of racial inequity. This heightened stress leads to what psychologists call crisis fatigue. Typically, people go into fight or flight mode during emergencies, and return to homeostasis when the emergency has abated. In the current context, Americans are constantly on hyper alert without returning to homeostasis, flooding bodies with cortisol and adrenaline and causing fatigue.
Cauffield noticed crisis fatigue having a significant impact on Floridians, and says that people seeking support at LSF Health Systems are reportedly feeling a myriad of emotions, including rage, hypervigilance, depression, and anxiety. She says that these are normal reactions to the abnormal situation, but that is it necessary to bring balance back to life and move forward in a healthy and productive way. Cauffield recommends balancing the negative state of affairs with joy, and reaching out to trusted loved ones for support. She says that reaching out is a sign of health, and can help mitigate the mental effects of crisis fatigue.
Thank you to LSF Health Systems for your work addressing crisis fatigue, and for making the public aware of the issue and how to mitigate the mental health impact.