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Table 3 Summary of stressors reported by peer workers during focus groups

From: “Running myself ragged”: stressors faced by peer workers in overdose response settings

Stressor Sub-themes
Financial insecurity Inequitable pay
Job instability
Lack of respect and recognition at work Stigma and inequity
Lack of resources to professionalize peer worker roles
Lack of role clarity
Lack of respect and recognition at work from colleagues
Lack of respect from other professionals
Housing challenges Living situation jeopardizes safety and health
Difficulty in acquiring housing due to stigma against PWUD
Safe housing is unaffordable
Affects peer workers’ productivity
Inability to access or refer individuals to resources Lack of social supports to access needed resources
Inability to refer clients to resources leading to a sense of powerlessness and dissatisfaction
Stigma and judgement affecting access of existing resources
Constant exposure to death and trauma Working as a first responder can cause stress and burnout
Constant exposure to death and trauma is doubly stressful for peer workers, especially death of friends and family
Personal and professional lives are inter-twined; no opportunity to unwind
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