Mindfulness in Community Health Work

Deqa Adan

Thanks to a Minneapolis Foundation grant, WellShare Community Health Worker Deqa Adan participated in a week long Mind Body Medicine training. Deqa found the training helped her reduce her own anxiety and was useful in helping her children in times they felt frustration with things like remote school and homework, yet, she was nervous to apply the same practices in work with clients.

One day, during a routine call with a mother of a newborn, that nervousness went away. The mother shared that she was struggling in her work with a lactation consultant. She described how the consultant kept telling her to “relax.” 

“Deqa, I feel like this counselor isn’t helping me…she keeps saying to relax…relax…but I don’t know what she means!”

“Hm…” Deqa thought, “Maybe I can help.” Deqa led the new mother through some mind-body exercises explaining in Somali what Soft Belly Breathing is, and how to let your body flow with each inhale and exhale explaining that, “How when a thought comes, just let it pass by. Similar to prayer, but more biological. Listen to your heartbeat. Feel your lungs fill with air, and slowly release the air on each exhale.” Through their conversation, the mother started to understand what her lactation consultant was trying to convey. “We don’t have the same vocabulary to talk about stress reduction,” Deqa shared but explained how the training helped her bridge the gap and bring new health practices to her community.

Deqa is excited to integrate more concepts from Mind Body Medicine into her daily family home visiting work. While talking about the training, her face lit up and she shared, “This is what I want to pursue going forward. There’s so much trauma in the Somali community, so much to decode. I’m so grateful WellShare allowed me to do the training. I look forward to learning more during the upcoming Implementation training.”

WellShare would like to thank Suzanne Koepplinger, Director of the Catalyst Initiative at Minneapolis Foundation, for providing us this opportunity to broaden access to mindfulness in the community.

Image courtesy of CMBM

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