Posted April 29, 2020
In the face of COVID-19, there is another crisis occurring: the mental health of our frontline workers. On Sunday, April 26, a top emergency room doctor at a Manhattan hospital that treated many coronavirus patients died by suicide. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family of Dr. Lorna M. Breen reported that she had no prior mental health conditions, though in the days and weeks before her death, she had seemed detached, frequently discussing the horrors she witnessed daily due to COVID-19.
This is just one example of the horrific consequences which occur and are bound to continuously occur when we do not provide mental health support to our healthcare providers who are seeing the most tragic elements of this pandemic.
Mental Health Crisis On The Frontlines
While we hear medical providers discussing the need for personal protective equipment to stay safe and healthy from the novel coronavirus, that gear also works to protect their mental health. For many on the frontlines, they utilize this protection not just when working patient to patient, but so they can feel safe and know they won’t get sick or infect others.
But some medical workers are taking that precaution a step further, isolating themselves alone from loved ones to stop the risk of the virus spreading. But that isolation can go on for months still, leaving them alone with their thoughts, with no way to distance themselves from what they are seeing daily.
In studies conducted during and after the SARS epidemic, researchers found the mental health of workers in the medical field was greatly impacted, even creating post-traumatic stress disorder-like symptoms, depression, anxiety, and drug abuse.
We cannot allow history to repeat itself. Now more than ever we need to protect the physical, mental, and emotional health of all essential workers and healthcare providers. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over, meaning the daily trauma will continue for some time to come.
Mental Health Resources
If you or someone you know is experiencing large shifts in personality, experiencing high levels of depression and anxiety, and simply is detached from others, do not wait to reach out and offer support.
There are resources available to those who need it most.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-6264
- Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741
If you are in need of support, or you are feeling that your employer is not being an advocate for your mental health, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
You are working on the frontlines to protect us. Let us help you.
You are risking it all, missing your families, and putting yourself in harm’s way as a healthcare worker during the COVID-19 pandemic. Do not feel like your voice or your feelings are being silenced. Let us represent you and your needs if your employer is not protecting you. Contact us today. We’re here to help you during this difficult time.
Posted in COVID-19.