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    Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice During and Beyond COVID-19

    Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice During and Beyond COVID-19

    Supporting judges and court staff in promoting their mental health and well-being, along with their colleagues during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Note: These recommendations might not fit all courts, so adapt them to meet your needs.

    Start by Taking Care of You

    • We are starting another week of disruption to routines and life, as we knew it.
    • It is natural for the disruption and uncertainty to cause anxiety and stress.
    • Many are managing multiple roles, including working remotely, parenting, care giving, and more.
    • Know that you are not alone and taking care of your well-being is crucial.
    Woman in front of courthouse

    Maintaining Your Health and Wellness

    Keep a regular schedule: Daily routines are key, so set a schedule. Try to achieve a set goal each day while staying flexible.

    Check-in with friends and family: This is a great time to reconnect with those you have not spoken with for a while.

    Stay informed from reliable sources: Follow the latest recommendations from the CDC and other reliable sources on how to protect yourself and your family.

    Get creative and share with friends, families, and co-workers: Pick up a hobby and share creative ideas and tips on what is working for you in self-care. Encourage others to do the same.

    Set boundaries on work schedule: The lines between home and work can be easily blurred, so set limits and do your best to stick to them.

    Get fresh air and exercise: Get fresh air and sunshine by walking around the block or sitting outside while maintaining a safe distance from others. There are plenty of free online trainers to exercise at home.

    Unplug from technology: Avoid continuous exposure to news, social media, and streaming media that may impact your mental and physical health. Stay informed and entertained but limit media consumption.

    Recognize that our mental health is vulnerable: This is a vulnerable time for all of us. Reach out to your support system if you are moving away from your typical behavior, feelings, or emotions. Also, listen to people around you if they notice changes in you.

    Using Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice to Help You and Your Colleagues

    Judges and court staff are experiencing the disruption of normal routines, social interaction, and other life challenges, which may impact emotional and mental health.

    You are well positioned to recognize changes in physical appearance, behavior, mood and/ or thinking in your colleagues. You can also be alert to other supports they might need.

    Working together offers you and your colleagues the chance to provide mutual support for mental health and well-being.

    Woman on laptop

    Ensuring the Mental Health and Well-being of You and Your Colleagues

    You can identify emerging behavioral health concerns and offer support by using Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice.

    Notice: Taking note of changes that are not typical or are unusual for a person.

    Talk: Checking in and letting the person know that you care.

    Act: Connecting a person to needed services and supports.

    Adapting Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice Beyond COVID-19

    Here are some suggestions on how to exercise Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice to help you and your colleagues:

    Notice: Start with observing changes that are not typical for that person and may occur suddenly or overtime with changes in appearance, behavior, mood and/or thinking.

    • Changes in Physical Appearance
      • Excessively sleepy, low energy or fatigued
      • Flat affect, not expressing emotion
      • Excessive weight gain or loss
      • Poor personal hygiene or overly casual
      • Fidgety or nervous movements
    • Changes in Thinking
      • Constant, intrusive thoughts
      • Difficulty concentrating and confused thinking
      • Persistent negative thoughts and beliefs
      • Personalizing situations
    • Changes in Behavior
      • More withdrawn and avoiding social situations
      • Uncharacteristically interactive with others, demanding attention
      • Not enjoying usual activities
      • Misuse of alcohol and/or drugs
      • Missing deadlines, poor quality work and accountability
      • Showing up late or at odd hours, disappearing for frequent breaks for an extended period
      • Complaints of physical health issues without a clear cause
    • Changes in Mood
      • Irritability with excessive personal conflicts or aggressiveness
      • Excessive worrying and feeling anxious
      • Extremely high and low moods
      • Easily overwhelmed and unable to cope with tasks previously managed
      • Hopelessness

    Talk: Trust your gut and talk about your concerns when you notice changes. Set aside time to talk with no distractions, in a private location.

    • Start the conversation with "I" statements and open-ended questions
      • For example, "I’ve noticed changes in your performance that I’d like to discuss, here is what I am seeing ... how can I help?” or “I’ve been worried about you, you’ve missed deadlines and that’s not like you, what do you think is causing these changes?"
    • Use affirmations
      • For example, "I’m glad you trust me with this information, that’s not easy to do."
    • Use reflective listening so the person knows that you are trying to understand the situation
      • For example, "May I reflect what I’m hearing ..."
    • Summarize to ensure you understand what was shared
      • You might say "thank you for sharing, based on what we talked about, here are the options we discussed ..."

    Act: Connecting the person to services and supports.

    • A Person in Danger or in Crisis
      • Activate your crisis response protocol. If you call 9-1-1, be sure to mention that this is a mental health crisis and request that a mental health professional respond with a crisis response trained officer.
    • When Support Is Not Needed
      • Leave the door open and remind your staff that you are there for them. Continue to check in with them regularly to see how things are going and to show that you care.
    • When Support Is Needed
      • If you have an employee assistance program (EAP), this is a good place to start because they provide confidential assessments and referrals to a range of supportive services, including mental health and substance misuse.
    • When Your Colleagues Do Not Share
      • Trust your gut and connect with the support services and resources. There are community organizations like NAMI, DBSA and others that offer resources, support groups, caregiver support and more.

    Engaging in tough conversations, seeing employees through traumatic events, and hearing about challenging experiences can have an impact on your personal health and well-being so don't forget to engage in self-care.

    Putting Notice. Talk. Act.TM Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice Together

    This resource emphasizes the need to check in with your colleague to help notive early warning signs, talk with colleagues you are concerned about and act to connect the person with appropriate supports

    As you use this Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice resource to support yourself and your colleagues, remember that you are not in this alone.

    Now more than ever, you play a crucial role in early identification. Pandemic disruptions are impacting the mental health and well-being of many. You can make a positive difference in the lives of judges and court staff in need of emotional and mental health support.

    Remember to take care of yourself. We are all in this together.

    Download the Notice. Talk. Act.™ Justice During and Beyond COVID-19 Infographic (.pdf)