Lewis and Clark County approves trauma counseling for public health staff

Nolan Lister

Lewis and Clark Public Health is contracting with a Missoula-based psychotherapist to provide “secondary trauma resiliency skills training” for department staff following a tumultuous two years.

The contract with licensed clinical social worker Andrew Laue was approved by the Lewis and Clark County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday. 

Laue’s services include the facilitation of monthly virtual one-hour skills lessons and support groups for the health department leadership team; two 1.5-hour all-staff virtual learning sessions; and videos and materials for ongoing refresher training and support, according to the contract.

Lewis and Clark County Health Officer Drenda Niemann told commissioners Tuesday Laue specializes in secondary trauma, or the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma of another.

Niemann also said that COVID-19 restrictions passed down by the local public health department drew the ire of some in the community.

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“That blow-back came to our hard-working public health staff,” she said. “I still have one phone call that came in while I was not at my desk. I saved the message because it was a death threat into the health department. An individual was

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