The Importance of Building and Measuring Resilience in Our Community

The last 18 months have been challenging for everyone. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the negative mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will continue their impact through 2029. Families First knew the families we serve were already hurting, and their trauma was made worse during the pandemic.

“I’ve got a full team of people here working on my behalf. All I have to do is hold up my end of the bargain too.”

Darrell B., Families First Client

With your support, we were ready to serve. Our families now benefit from new mental health assessments and services that help them learn to build psychosocial resilience. We pair our clinical services with a Navigator – a family quarterback – who stays at our families’ sides. We are meeting our clients where they are and helping them navigate to stability in the midst of unimaginable hardship.

Hear more from Darrell B about how Families First is helping him change his life.

You have made it possible for Families First to help
so many families like Darrell and his daughter.

Since March 2020 we have screened 492 community members for resilience and built 258 personalized care plans to help our families move from surviving to thriving!

With your support we have helped families like Darrell’s build their resilience and create a support network. One of the first steps in our Navigator Model is the Families First Resiliency Needs Screener (FFRNS-14), a fourteen-item resilience screening tool that measures three main areas of psychosocial resilience including:

  1. Access to health and mental health services
  2. Connectedness – social health
  3. Future & goal orientation

We understand firsthand the needs of clients today, but we want to be intentional in helping people combat the needs of ‘tomorrow.’ The learned skills of resiliency can be passed along for generations to come.

Used as a first line of “Access” the Screener helps families and professional helpers understand their healthcare resources so that in time of need they can be connected and/or help others to access these essential resources.  Access transcends socioeconomic status. 

Whether you have healthcare insurance or not, people usually don’t dive deep into knowing all the services they are eligible for.  We tend to be reactive naturally because of shifting priorities in our day-today lives. Many become aware of some of these services once a crisis has occurred, but preventive care is generally nonexistent. Families First’s Navigators pair the “Access” score with a client’s assessment of the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) to customize a service plan that helps increase the scores in this area.

“Connectedness” is a protective factor for stress related diseases.  It is also a protective factor for suicidal ideation, and mood disorders.  Connectedness, bonds, and alliance is one of the most (if not the most) fundamental survival mechanisms of humankind. 

Individuals that can master social growth are capable of significant achievements.  Connection with others is the grounds for empathy and collaboration to achieve any goal.  This concept is best known as social intelligence, which is the ability to connect with others, establish new relationships, and maintain them all in a healthy manner. 

It takes mental health support to increase scoring in this category. Between social coaching and psychotherapeutic services, the Practitioner should see improvements in this category. 

“Goal and Future Orientation” is a person’s ability to see their lives ahead.  Ideally, future orientation is how a person views themselves in the future as achieving their aspirations or at least being on the right track to achieve their short and long-term goals. 

Next to connectedness, future orientation is a major motivator to making healthy changes in one’s life.  A major barrier to psychosocial recovery is when the person has little to no vision or aspiration beyond what’s currently happening in his/her life. 

The Practitioner can put together a customizable plan to foster the development of the client’s ability to establish goals and aspirations and prepare a plan towards the person’s goals and objectives.

We are all ready for some normalcy. Emotional readiness however takes preparation and some planning.  We have learned that events like natural disasters and health-related phenomena such as pandemics are factors that can reshape our lives.  To help us prepare for what may come and cope better with changes you should consider checking your resiliency level and how you can increase your ability to handle tough challenges life brings.