Mindfulness-based Self-Care for Youth Services Workers

Duration: 2019 - Present
Funding: COP: Department of Human Services
Principal Investigator: Sebrina Doyle
Partners: Pennsylvania Youth Development Centers


In this community-based participatory research project, Penn State staff are working with a team from the Bureau of Juvenile Justice Services Division of Quality Improvement and Training Services to develop a sustainable self-care program for staff working in residential youth facilities across the Commonwealth. Elements of this self-care curriculum will include brief mindfulness-based practices for stress management, emotion skills awareness and management, empathy and compassionate responding, and understanding of vicarious/secondary trauma.

So far, roundtable discussions on stress and self-care have been conducted with staff and supervisors at YDC/YFC facilities to identify primary sources of stress for staff, self-care strategies currently being used effectively, and optimal intervention points that occur throughout the day/week to implement new self-care strategies. Additionally, baseline surveys were completed by over 250 staff to collect information on sources and effects of stress and self-care for program development and evaluation purposes. Finally, BJJS Training Services staff and site-based peer coaches have received initial training in mindfulness-based practices for stress management to assure usability and sustainability of the program. Training curriculum development is underway and piloting is expected to begin in early 2018.