FORWARD Program News


The Impact of Vicarious Trauma

Did you know that trauma is contagious? Those who care for others impacted by trauma often experience trauma-like symptoms, such as depression, anxiety and insomnia. Suffering from these or similar symptoms without experiencing the trauma firsthand is known as "vicarious trauma", and it can lead to burnout and compassion fatigue.

Burnout looks like...feelings of hopelessness, fatigue and being overwhelmed from excessive workloads and unsupportive environments.

Compassion fatigue looks like...emotional or physical exhaustion that leads to a diminished ability to empathize or feel compassion for others.

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We can prevent compassion fatigue and burnout by keeping ourselves regulated. According to UB's Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (ITTIC): "The only way we can effectively begin the trauma-informed response process (regulate, relate, respond) is by being regulated ourselves—being mindful of our own flipped lid potential. When adults are regulated, they are able to regulate a dysregulated (flipped lid) student due to what is called emotional contagion. This is an effect of being human where an individual mirrors the regulation (or dysregulation) of another person—especially in the relationship between someone with authority and someone without."

Keeping ourselves regulated means that we are self-aware and in tune with our own emotions. In this way, we are able to recognize when we ourselves need to take a break and practice self-care, whether we're dealing with a difficult situation in the classroom or at home. See below for some tips on keeping yourself regulated.

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Exercises to Reactivate the Body

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Alternate Nostril Breathing

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Seated Cat/Cow, Spinal Twists, Shoulder Shrugs, Neck Rolls, Downward Dog

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Learn more about vicarious trauma by watching the video below or by following this link:
Drowning in Empathy: The Cost of Vicarious Trauma | Amy Cunningham | TEDxSanAntonio

Get more information about this and other wellness practices at our upcoming workshops with ITTIC!

January's focus is on "Trauma-Informed Educational Practices", and is worth 1.5 CTLE credits! See below for session dates, times, and registration links.

  • Jan. 6th @ 3:00 - 4:30 pm, virtually (To Register click HERE)
  • Jan. 13th @ 3:00 - 4:30pm, at the High School Cafeteria 104 (To Register click HERE)
  • Jan. 20th @ 4:00 - 5:30 pm, at the High School Cafeteria 104 (To Register click HERE)
  • Jan. 27th @ 4:00 - 5:30 pm, virtually (To Register click HERE)

From the Lion's Den

At Roy B. Kelley Elementary School, Mrs. Berger's Second Step classes read "Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree" by Robert E. Barry. After, everyone participated in a fun craft activity which encouraged students to express gratitude. Students wrote down things they are thankful for on ornaments and used them to decorate a holiday tree.

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  • Nicole Weaver, Multidisciplinary Mental Health Coordinator, is located at Lockport High School and works with grades K-12. She can be reached at or via phone at (716) 478-4423.
  • Laura Feind, Behavioral Health Coordinator, is located at Charles Upson Elementary School and works with grades K-6. She can be reached at or via phone at 478-4412.
Peachjar & Community Organizations

LCSD works with community organizations to make information about activities and enrichment opportunities available to families. We cooperate with approved community partners by posting eflyers online and distributing them electronically.

Grants and District / Community Programs

Pride in our Past...Faith in our Future

Holly Dickinson, Director