Mental Health and Resiliency Tools for Health Care Workers: COVID-19

Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP 
Clinical Consultant – Briggs Healthcare

Yesterday I blogged on managing fatigue during the pandemic.  Today I providing two (2) resources that speak to mental health: Mental Health and Resiliency Tools for Health Care Workers: COVID-19 from the Minnesota Department of Health and Tips for Healthcare Professionals: Coping with Stress and Compassion Fatigue from SAMHSA.  

“Tools and resources for health care leaders and workers to deal with common mental, emotional, and psychological concerns they have because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

High demand for medical services over a long period of time puts particular stress on health care settings and staff. This may cause staff shortages as workers get sick or stay home because of stress and anxiety, or for other reasons.

Many things about COVID-19 are still unknown. Health care workers risk infection to care for patients and residents who have this new disease. It is important to actively listen to, understand, and respond to their concerns, which can include:

  • Working without needed personal protective equipment or safeguards.
  • Witnessing human suffering.
  • Making life and death decisions.
  • Fear of infecting family members.
  • Separation from family.
  • Fear of getting sick.
  • Mental exhaustion.

Consider making the following strategies part of your mental health and wellness plan. Print the handouts to post in your building and to share with your team.”

SAMHSA has this Tip Sheet available to download and share.  It includes links to Help Lines and Helpful Resources as well as helpful tips. “As a healthcare professional, you may face stress on the job under usual conditions due to long shifts, competing responsibilities, and witnessing or hearing about difficult patient experiences. As a responder on the front lines of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, you are likely working longer hours, seeing loved ones less, and working in a more stressful environment. At the same time, you may be coping with the mental health effects that all types of disasters, including public health emergencies, often have. As such, you may be noticing signs of stress and distress in yourself and your coworkers. This tip sheet explores stress and compassion fatigue, as well as signs of distress after a disaster. It identifies ways to cope and enhance resilience, along with resources for more information and support.”

There is a plethora of valuable information for you and your colleagues. Please share these resources and stay physically and mentally healthy!