Dr. Mary Walton, DMSc, PA-C
Humanitarian aid workers provide care to vulnerable populations that are in the midst of crisis or emergency, typically in austere or remote environments. Often, these environments are characterized by violence, elemental exposure, and limited supplies and support. As a result, these workers are especially vulnerable to higher stress levels and, ultimately, burnout. Burnout not only decreases the worker’s ability to provide appropriate medical care, it places them at increased risk of psychological and physiological medical issues seen at higher levels than in the general population. Meditation practices and slow, diaphragmatic, nasal breathing have been shown to improve health and mitigate the effects of burnout. To date, treatment modalities have not been specifically studied in this population. However, these two modalities can be extrapolated to the humanitarian aid worker and employed to improve psychological and physiological well-being, countering the negative aspects of burnout. Further research regarding these treatment options for this population is indicated and encouraged.
Coleman PA. Meditation and Breath Control to Mitigate Burnout in Humanitarian Aid Workers. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2023; 5(1).
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