These are challenging times to be sure. Not only are you and your staff working on the front lines during a global pandemic that disproportionately affects your residents, we are also in the midst of a national crisis as we face the injustice and racism that still exists throughout the country and within its systems. The anxiety and exhaustion from the past few months of fighting COVID-19, coupled with the sadness, anger and frustration that many are now feeling can have an enormous impact on the mental health of your nurses, nursing assistants, administrative staff, and others on your team. Here are some resources to help:
The Maryland COVID-19 Crisis Support Program is offering free mental health support for frontline workers. It is a new program that provides free, confidential mental health support to employees of Maryland’s long-term healthcare facilities impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. What’s different about this program is that in addition to individual counseling, there is also group support available for specific workgroups/teams/shifts. Facilitated wellness and stress management discussions are open to all employees. Services will be provided virtually by licensed mental health clinicians provided by the Workplace Trauma Center (WTC). Read the details.
Massachusetts General Hospital offers Resilience Training for Healthcare Workers, a free 3-session video course on resiliency skills for healthcare providers. The sessions are explicitly tailored to building psychological skills (e.g., mindfulness, flexibility, self-compassion) for managing stressors that providers face and feature personal reflections from providers on the front lines. You can explore their other tools at: https://www.massgeneral.org/psychiatry/guide-to-mental-health-resources/health-care-providers#tools
Support and referral line of Pennsylvania: If you’re feeling scared, overwhelmed, or anxious, there are community-based resources available if you live in Pennsylvania, through the Support and Referral Helpline at 1-855-284-2492. Support is offered to anyone struggling with anxiety issues because of the pandemic. They are not licensed counselors but can refer you to counselors in the area, including those who can help with issues such as unemployment.
Learn more about Philadelphia area resources by clicking on the link below:
https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/free-support-groups-coronavirus-pandemic-philadelphia-area-south-jersey-20200508.html One program, “Those Who Care,” is free for residents of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and provides one-on-one counseling for essential front-line workers, including health-care employees, EMT personnel, police, firefighters, those who work in transit deliveries, grocery stores, and any other essential workers. This program is staffed by therapists who have expertise dealing with trauma.
Other tips to keep in mind and share with colleagues, or discuss during daily huddles and shift changes:https://www.cstsonline.org/assets/media/documents/CSTS_FS_Sustaining_Well_Being_Healthcare_Personnel_during.pdf