Photo by Erich Saide #HumansOfSupport

In the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, we have the opportunity to realize the importance of all that we previously took for granted. Perhaps, you are noticing how much you appreciate simple things like having food in the fridge, time to experiment with new meal ideas, enough toilet paper, a short line at your local grocery store, more time with your family, and random acts of kindness or connection with strangers you might pass on your limited time outside.

You might also be noticing a pronounced increase in the appreciation for those working in essential services. Whether we refer to them as #firstresponders or #heros, one thing is for sure, we are all starting to recognize the vitally important role that these people play in our capacity to overcome this health crisis and to heal and thrive in its wake.

I have been following a movement that began in Europe and has spread to several cities in other countries, including Vancouver, Canada where people are taking to their balconies and front steps at 7p.m. every evening to cheer and applaud our healthcare workers and other essential services. Clanging pots and pans and cheers of gratitude become louder each evening, as does the growing sense of an energetic community beginning to form in spite of our need to keep physical distance.

Gratitude is the best way to remember how blessed we are and to generate personal feelings of abundance and safety even in the eye of the storm.

May the demonstrations of gratitude now buoy the spirits of those essential service providers. May this energy lead to real and meaningful support systems that have use and relevance right now. And may this be the catalyst to real and meaningful change as we move through and beyond the current crisis.

Who are Essential Service Providers? The List is Long

The truth is ~ healthcare and social services have long been undervalued and overlooked ~ as well as strained in terms of resources, funding, and employee wellness.

The good news is that we have a huge opportunity to shift the paradigm when it comes to employee wellness. Appreciation is a good place to start but what will really make a difference over the long term?

It’s important to be even more inclusive in terms of who falls under the umbrella of essential services. In addition to those providing healthcare in our hospitals, there are those responding to the needs of people living in long-term care facilities, group homes, treatment centers, and on the streets.

Police services, firefighters and paramedics remain present to the needs of their communities. We already have evidence of their commitment to the safety and wellbeing of the people no matter what. Remember how NYPD and fire services rose to the occasion following the tragedy of 911?

In addition to our need to remain physically healthy, strengthen our immune systems, and protect each other and ourselves from the spread of the virus, most of us have emotional, mental and spiritual needs that are vital elements of our overall health and wellness.

Non-profit workers, social workers, counselors, and mental health workers continue to be available to those who need their services via phone calls, video chats, and emails as they adjust to working from home.

Personal caregivers who respond to the needs of their aging parents, the health challenges of their spouses and partners, and care for their children with extraordinary needs continue on often now with less support and access to necessary resources. Without the caregiving offered by unpaid family members and volunteers, we would have an even bigger crisis on our hands right now.

Pastoral care workers and clergy continue to support the spiritual and emotional needs of their church members and those who may be isolated and lonely.

Most of us are unaware of the many healthcare, social service, allied professions, and volunteers who are available to the millions of people in our world who struggle with challenges that we cannot even begin to imagine. We only learn about these essential services when they become essential to our own lives. We have to remember that these #essentialservices providers also face the same fears, personal challenges, and vulnerabilities of those they serve. None of us are immune to the curve balls that life can throw at us. As a society, we have to stop seeing these people as superhuman and begin to recognize their humanity.

Exploring Creative Solutions with Real Impact

Photo by Charles Zuckermann

Let’s take this opportunity to learn what would be helpful to the millions of people who continue to serve throughout this crisis. What do they need now? And how can we take what we are learning at this time to set the stage for transformation when we land on the other side?

Crisis used to create real and meaningful change is a demonstration of our resilience, our creative genius, and our collective power. If there is no silver lining then it has been all for naught.

Let us learn. Let us grow. Let us unite. And let us change.

  • In the spirit of appreciation, recognition, and learning about each other, photographers, Erich Saide, Charles Zuckermann and the team at #HumansofSupport have launched a project to use their creative talents as an avenue to showcase and highlight the service offered to our communities as we navigate the unknown. This project is about the real people who show up everyday to serve ~ to respond. People who made a commitment, who answered a call, and who are now in the center of a worldwide crisis like none we have seen in our generation. Learn more about this project here. Follow them as well on instagram @humansofsupport.
  • Thrive Global recently launched their #FirstRespondersFirst initiative to support the work and wellbeing of the millions of healthcare and social service professionals who continue to answer the call to serve throughout this crisis.

One of the greatest expressions of appreciation is the desire to understand and learn about another’s perspective and role. After the applause fades it will be important to remain curious and build on our desire to understand what our #essentialservices providers need to feel safe, healthy, fulfilled, and connected to the passion that originally called them to their vocations.

Let’s listen, learn and respond.

People called to serve are hardwired to give and to be there for others. As a collective, we all benefit from their capacity to respond. It is in everyone’s best interest to be concerned about and for their health ~ on all levels ~ of our vital and valuable human resources.

We are in this together. If we can’t recognize that now, what will it take?

Perhaps, you know about a person or group who is actively supporting our #essentialservices providers. Please share in the comments so we can keep expanding this conversation.

Another instalment in the Conscious Service Series for Helping Professionals and Personal Caregivers.


  • Elizabeth Bishop


    Elizabeth Bishop Consulting/Confederation College

    Elizabeth Bishop is the creator of the Conscious Service Approach designed to support helping professionals to reconnect with and fulfill their desire to make a difference in the lives of those they support. Following the completion of a diploma in Developmental Services and a degree in Psychology and Religious Studies, she completed a Masters in Adult Education through St. Francis Xavier University, providing the opportunity to test and refine the elements of the Conscious Service Approach. Elizabeth develops and facilitates workshops, teaches at the college level, coordinates caregiver programs and she is the author of the Service with Elizabeth Bishop channel on the new Vibe app for mindfulness. Contact Elizabeth and learn more at