Tools and Resources


CPTS has two new resources for healthcare staff.  These resources provide concrete, usable tools for healthcare staff to support coping in the face of challenging, stressful situations in delivering healthcare.

Responding to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 Pandemic: Toolkit for Emotional Coping for Healthcare Staff (TECHS)

This slideset can be used by individual staff or healthcare teams to learn coping and resilience building skills. For PowerPoint slides, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

TECHS flyer – use this 1-page quick intro to share TECHS with your colleagues and staff

FREE WEBINAR: Toolkit for Emotional Coping for Healthcare Staff - Putting it into practice

Frontline healthcare staff are facing unprecedented stressors as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. The Toolkit for Emotional Coping for Healthcare Staff (TECHS) is a set of concrete tools healthcare staff can use during these challenging times. This webinar also provides guidance and practical tips for supporting colleagues, as well as a stand-alone presentation of the toolkit that can be viewed by groups or individuals as a basis for working through the tools on their own. Watch this recorded webinar any time.

Leaders: Learn how to facilitate TECHS with colleagues / groups of healthcare staff
Small groups / Individuals: Use as a guide to using the TECHS tools at your own pace - stop and start to fit the time you have available

TECHS in additional languages

• Spanish version of TECHS from the Asociación Chilena del Estrés Traumático (ACET): Herramientas de Afrontamiento Emocional para el Personal de Salud.  For PowerPoint slides, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

TECHS Webinar en español

Japanese version of TECHS  from the Japanese Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (JSTSS)

Secondary Traumatic Stress for Healthcare Professionals

This slideset can be used by individual staff or healthcare teams to learn about secondary traumatic stress and how individuals and institutions can help address it. For PowerPoint slides, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Impact on healthcare staff –  stress and wellbeing

Secondary traumatic stress is a set of responses to being exposed to trauma experienced by others, especially in one’s work / professional role.  Reactions can be akin to symptoms of posttraumatic stress – including:

  • Intrusive or recurrent disturbing thoughts
  • Avoiding reminders of difficult experiences
  • Overly aware of any signs of danger

Other signs and symptoms can include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling down or depressed
  • Feeling apathetic or emotionally detached
  • Irritability or anger
  • Trouble concentrating

All healthcare staff are at risk for secondary traumatic stress, even in “normal” times, because of their repeated exposure to potentially traumatic experiences of their patients.  The COVID-19 pandemic has many characteristics that increase the risk of secondary traumatic stress for frontline healthcare staff - witnessing suffering and death among patients and other staff, and uncertainty about the future, with an ever-changing situation. 

In a pandemic, there are additional stressors for healthcare staff who:

  • may also be caregivers for own children, partner, older family members
  • are at risk of becoming ill themselves and being in the patient role
  • may face ethical dilemmas around providing care to critically ill patients when resources are limited

In healthcare and hospital settings, all essential frontline staff can be exposed to these stressors – clinical staff as well as security, front desk, environmental services and food service staff, and others.

Promoting coping, resilience, and wellbeing

First, institutional responses are important.  Emerging evidence from pandemics suggests that healthcare staff experience lower stress, depression, and anxiety when they are satisfied with the care provided by their hospital / department and are satisfied with the protective measures available to them for avoiding infection. 

Individuals and healthcare teams can also play a role in their own wellbeing.  All the usual advice about self-care applies: rest, exercise, time to “turn off” mentally outside of work.  In addition, specific tools can help to learn quick, practical coping strategies – see Toolkit for Emotional Coping for Healthcare Staff (TECHS). 

Additional Resources for Healthcare Staff

Tips and information on healthcare staff coping and wellbeing at work / related to COVID-19

 Considering and coping with ethical challenges

General stress and coping tools 

  • Professional Quality of Life Measure (ProQOL)
    • Measure of both negative and positive effects on professionals from helping others who experience suffering and trauma.  Available in 27 languages, or download the “Provider Resilience” app for iOS or Android
    • The ProQoL is included in this set of quick, evidence-based tools to gauge your stress as well as your compassion satisfaction.  Give yourself a regular “checkup” – the app will help you track your responses over time.
  • Headspace for Healthcare Professionals
    • Tools for calming and coping.  Headspace is offering free accounts for healthcare professionals during the pandemic


Addressing the psychological and emotional impact of the COVID 19 pandemic for children, families, and healthcare staff

The impact of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic goes beyond the threat of infection and physical disease.  This evolving situation also has a psychological and emotional impact.

All children and families face disruption and changes to normal life.  Families with a child who has an existing health condition may have particular stressors and worries. 

Frontline healthcare staff are experiencing stressful, and often distressing, challenges in their work and professional roles – while they deal with disruptions in their personal life as well.

Our aim is to provide useful tools for healthcare staff and for families that can:

  • aid in understanding the stress and potential traumatic stress related to the pandemic, and
  • promote coping and resilience.

What you’ll find here:

Resources for children and families - Learn how to help your child cope, downloadable tipsheets, and additional resources. 

Resources for healthcare staff - Learn how stress of the pandemic impacts healthcare staff, how to build coping and resilience skills, and signs of secondary traumatic stress. 

COVID-19 Exposure and Family Impact Scale (CEFIS) – Brief measure of the impact of the COVID pandemic on families of children with pediatric health conditions. In English and Spanish, parent- and youth self-report versions.



This parent tipsheet from CPTS Includes examples you can use at home, and specific tips for parents of children with existing health concerns.


Parenting a child with existing healthcare needs can be especially stressful during a disease outbreak or pandemic. The following tips can help:

- Keep in touch with your child’s healthcare team. 
They are the best source of accurate information about COVID-19 and how it might impact your child.

- Rely on trusted sources. 
Misinformation can be spread online, even by well-intentioned people. Rely on national disease groups and your child’s healthcare team to answer your questions. Ask your health care team about things that you see online. 

- Check in about health-related worries. 
Your child might be nervous about things like running out of medications. Find out what they know and what they might be wondering or worried about. Provide fact-based reassurance whenever possible. 

- Be sensitive to “triggers” 
Seeing or hearing things about the disease, the hospital, and dying might be especially scary for kids with underlying health issues. Your child’s “triggers” might not be obvious to you, and they might react in ways that surprise you

- Give everyone a chance to ask questions 
If you have more than one child, remember that brothers and sisters may also be worried about their sibling with a health condition. Give them factual, age-appropriate information.

For ANY child and family, the COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging. Here are our top seven tips for parents:

1. Remain calm and reassuring.
Focus on helping your child feel safe. Try to answer your child’s questions using simple words that he or she can understand. Share information that is accurate and age-appropriate. Stay updated about what is happening with the outbreak by getting the most credible information you can.

2. Keep as many everyday routines as possible. 
Establish routines that work for your family. Stay consistent with bedtimes, meals, chores, and exercise. Encourage your child to keep up with schoolwork – this may be in ways that are new for you / your child (and their teachers), like online learning.

3. Help your child feel in control.
Provide choices where possible. Enlist them in creating their daily and weekly schedule, and in carrying out your family plan to stay healthy. Encourage your child to take part in age-appropriate self-care. Help them use their “germ buster” powers: washing hands often (especially after sneezing, coughing, or using the bathroom), not touching their face, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or elbow.

4. Help your child feel connected with others.
Spend family time doing things you all enjoy. And while you still may need to set some limits on screen and phone time, it is important for your child or teen to stay in touch with friends and family on the phone and online. 

5. Allow your child to talk about feelings and worries, if they want to. 
Let them know that being scared or worried is normal. If they don’t want to talk right now, they might want to write (keep a journal, write a story) or draw a picture about what they are thinking and feeling. Check back in with your child on a regular basis or when the situation changes.

6. Make time every day for stress-reducing activities.
Help your child create a habit with calming, stress-reducing activities they can do every day, such as exercise, deep breathing, or yoga. Find what works for your child – might be an online exercise video, or starting each day writing down what they are grateful for.

7. Take time to deal with your own feelings. 
It’s harder to help your child when you are feeling really worried, anxious, stressed or overwhelmed. Talk it out with other adults – so that you can get some support. While it is good for your kids to see that you are reaching out and staying connected, it might be best to have some of these conversations in private or after your child goes to sleep at night. Stay connected with friends and family on the phone and online.

Additional Resources for Families

More tips and information for parents

Helping children understand the pandemic

Stress and coping tools for kids and teens


COVID-19 Exposure and Family Impact Scale (CEFIS)


The COVID-19 Exposure and Family Impact Scale (CEFIS) is a brief measure of the impact of the COVID pandemic on families of children with pediatric health conditions.

- Intended for use in ongoing and new research studies

- May also be clinically applicable

- 2 versions: Caregiver-report and adolescent / young adult (AYA) self-report

- Each version is available in English and Spanish

To obtain the CEFIS, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Download SAMPLE copies here:

- CEFIS Parent Report - English

CEFIS Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Self Report - English

- CEFIS Parent Report - Spanish

- CEFIS Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Self Report – Spanish

Many mental health professionals are familiar with child trauma and traumatic stress related to child abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. Medical trauma has some distinct characteristics that may impact the course of traumatic stress symptoms and have implications for medical care and psychosocial intervention, including:

  • Experience of pain / ongoing pain
  • Painful / distressing procedures
  • Sedation and loss of consciousness
  • Separation and isolation
  • Exposure to sickness, injuries, or death of others
  • Ongoing physical and health consequences

Resource Guide for Mental Health Professionals

Whether working as a consultant to the child’s health care team or seeing children in the context of their own practice, mental health professionals working with ill or injured children and their families need an understanding of pediatric medical traumatic stress and the available interventions and resources.

Based on the most recent research, Working with Children and Families Experiencing Medical Traumatic Stress: A Resource Guide for Mental Health Professionals is designed to help psychosocial professionals who are working with children and families impacted by illness or injury. This resource is for professionals who are familiar with trauma-focused treatment, and provides an overview of pediatric medical traumatic stress (PMTS), resources and materials to educate medical colleagues (physicians, nurses, physician assistants), and psychosocial screening, assessment, and intervention resources and materials.

Download Working with Children and Families Experiencing Medical Traumatic Stress: A Resource Guide for Mental Health Professionals to learn about pediatric medical traumatic stress and improve mental health care for ill or injured pediatric patients and families.