But what happens when our members’ own daily stress is compounded by trauma-inducing events in their own lives? We all know how difficult it is to be fully present for others when we are carrying the burden of our own traumas.
In response, the AFT is offering a free new benefit for members—trauma counseling. (And, yes, in certain circumstances, a member with a coronavirus infection is eligible for this coverage.) The traumas covered by this new insurance include:
- An injury due to aggravated assault, sexual assault, a mass shooting or a terrorist act; this includes victims of domestic violence.
- Witnessing a violent incident at work.
- Bullying, harassment, or the threat or experience of secondary trauma resulting in a mild, moderate or severe mental health condition and an impairment of function.
- Contracting an infectious disease at work—including the coronavirus.
- An injury or infection from a disease during a major disaster, as declared by the National Emergencies Act.
So how does this program work?
The counseling sessions are set up to take advantage of the latest communication technologies—phone, text, video—and to provide help whenever it is needed, wherever a member may be. They are conducted in complete privacy. Members will gain access to the program through the AFT members-only Member Benefits portal. Members will have access to a total of 21 hours of counseling over a three-month period. Everything is confidential.
What can you do now?
- We’d love to know what questions you have, so we can add them (and answer them!) to our FAQ. Send your questions here.
- Update your membership lists regularly. This is a members-only benefit; we want to make sure every member can access the program with an AFT member ID number.
- Take a moment to alert your members via email about this new benefit.
We want our members to feel the support of their union in their everyday lives. We hope this new member benefit will help us to meet that need.