Written by Ben Mulick

As an AmeriCorps member at Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin (the Alliance), you will find yourself offered the opportunity to work on projects that address many different aspects of children’s health. These can range from longer term, day-to-day aspects, such as asthma mitigation or cavity prevention, to more immediate and critical aspects like emergency care. That’s why I’d like to dedicate this edition of our AmeriCorps blog to sensitive work and the importance of self-care, and I think that a good place to start is discussing the child death review (CDR) work of the injury prevention and death review initiative.

As the name suggests, CDR is about reviewing the facts surrounding child deaths. The purpose of doing this is to help generate policies aimed at helping prevent similar deaths in the future. Child death reviews are conducted by CDR teams, which exist across the state and are made up of a wide variety of medical, governmental, and social service professionals – all of whom bring their own perspectives and expertise to the review process. During my time serving at the Alliance, I’ve been able to contribute to the CDR process, primarily through data entry work. I read and organize the available documentation about child deaths, attend CDR meetings and work to ensure all relevant information gets entered into the National Fatality Review Case Reporting System (CRS).

As you can probably imagine, doing something like that means reading and hearing about some heavy things. Making sure that you’re in a good headspace is important to everything you do, both at work and off the clock. In the context of CDR, many people take a few minutes to decompress after CDR meetings, or other related work. Personally, I go for a walk each day after work and take time to de-stress. With that said, self-care looks different for everyone and what works for other people might not work for you. The important part is finding what works best for you and understanding the limitations of your own comfort zone.

Sensitive work can be a great learning opportunity. Remembering to incorporate self-care in a way that works for you will always be worthwhile. Being intentional about taking care of yourself will do more than just benefit your mental health; it will allow you to make your best contributions to any sensitive work in a way that is sustainable for you.

The work that CDR teams do makes a real difference! Read more about it here.