representatives, speakers and panelists from other sessions, and attendees. Box 2-1 includes a summary of the stressors and potential challenges the speakers from DHS identified through their presentations. Additional information about resilience concerns and programs within individual DHS component agencies can be found in Chapter 8.

BOX 2-1

DHS-Identified Employee Stressors

  • Repeated exposure to traumatic critical incidents
  • Fatigue from shift work or chronically long hours
  • Nature of the mission
  • Frequent job relocation and deployment
  • Balance between professional and personal obligations
  • Real and perceived consequences of seeking assistance such as stigma, lose of clearance, impact on promotion possibilities

DHS-Perceived Challenges in Developing Resilience Programs

  • Large, decentralized organization with diverse cultures
  • Privacy laws and regulations that may restrict outreach to families
  • Funding and prioritization of resources
  • Stigma associated with seeking assistance
  • Decentralization of human resource infrastructure and operations


In late 2009, Deputy Secretary Lute tasked the DHS Office of Health Affairs to develop a department-wide wellness and resilience initiative. DHSTogether was started, Brinsfield stated, with two central objectives: prevention of employee suicides, particularly in the law enforcement organizations, and improvement of morale and engagement as measured by the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings.1


1The “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” is an index derived from the annual government-wide Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS).

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