Self-Care in the Age of Collective Trauma

ASCCC Relations With Local Senates Committee
ASCCC Relations With Local Senates Committee

“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
- Parker Palmer

Science has demonstrated that trauma of various kinds has lasting effects for individuals and even through generations. Whether it be abuse, violence, accidents, or other dramatic occurrences, trauma has broad-reaching effects. While educators and their students have experienced trauma from surviving the pandemic and witnessing deaths from COVID-19 as well as the effects of systemic racism, they also commonly experience burnout: the mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion resulting from too much stress or from supporting others who have been traumatized. Any of these conditions could result in feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to meet the demands of faculty’s everyday lives and important jobs as role models for students.


The classic airplane safety speech admonishes passengers to put their own air mask on before that of their accompanying child; in other words, one is no good to anyone if one is not good to oneself. That statement is the simplest, most understandable example of self-care, and it especially applies to educators.


Multiple resources are available when faculty are in need of some help. One should use them not only for one’s own benefit but also for the benefit of students who are looking to faculty for examples of how to be productive, healthy adults. As professionals and role models, faculty have an obligation to students to practice what they preach; they are obligated to demonstrate good self-care practices so that students also learn how to take care of themselves.


Anyone in crisis can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text “BRAVE” to 741-741 at any time. For those not in crisis but needing support, California community college districts’ employee assistance programs are excellent resources. California also has an extensive suite of mental health resources as noted in the table below, which is taken from…. Faculty should not hesitate to reach out for help when necessary in order to heal and be healthy.

California’s Statewide Hotlines/Resources

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 or text 838255 (24/7)
Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 74174
Veterans Suicide Crisis Line
1-800-8255 and Press 1
California Parent and Youth Helpline
833-317-HOPE (4673)
RAIN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE (24/7)
Trevor Project (LGBTQ youth)
Call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678 (24/7)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance disorders.
The Trans Lifeline’s Hotline is a peer support phone service run by trans people for our trans and questioning peers. Call us if you need someone trans to talk to, even if you’re not in crisis or if you’re not sure you’re trans. Call (800) 877-565-8860 open 24/7 but staff is limited.
Guaranteed to be available from 2 pm -10 pm PST.
Teen Line
Call (800) 852-8336 (6 pm-10 pm PST)
Text TEEN to 839863 (6 pm-10 pm PST). Offering anonymous support for teenagers by phone, text. or email. No problem is too small, too large or too shocking for the trained volunteers.
California Youth (ages 12-24) Crisis Line
Call or text 1-800-843-5200 or chat online (24/7)