In the best of times, emergency physicians are often at the greatest risk for burnout. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this critical danger is thrown into even starker relief. The tragic loss of Dr. Lorna M. Breen in New York City recently further highlights the very real risks emergency medicine providers face.
While working to protect your patients, colleagues, and families, it is imperative that you take time to protect yourself, to check in on your own emotional and mental well-being, and to be sure that you are coping with the increased stress, and often trauma, associated with this crisis.
Caring for your own emotional and mental well-being can often feel like one more obligation, particularly when you are already overextended. However, just as the work you do is deemed “essential,” you are essential. Your health and safety are essential. Your well-being is essential.
Please take care of yourself during this time.
Many resources are available. Below is a small list of where to start:
- The American Psychological Association compiled common sense, concrete strategies for managing stress during this time.
- Project Parachute provides free therapy for front line healthcare workers as you work to fight the pandemic. Over 500 therapists in 37 states are ready to help.
- For the FRONTLINES provides fast support via text for support “dealing with anxiety, stress, fear, isolation, or other difficult emotions you are experiencing during coronavirus.” Simply text 741741.
- Headspace is a popular and effective app for meditation and mindfulness, and they are offering all physicians a complimentary two-year subscription.
- Mental Health America offers an online assessment so you can screen your own mental health in the privacy of your own home and determine where your risks may lie.
- The option to talk through what you are experiencing is a powerful and simple tool. Wysa is an app to help you when going to see a mental health professional is either not an option, or you are between appointments. Wysa is offering healthcare workers free access to help avoid burnout.
- Your families are also profoundly affected by this crisis. The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress has compiled resources for helping families of healthcare workers who are exposed to COVID-19.
ACOEP stands in strong support of Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s letter to House leadership regarding providing mental health resources for frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Read the letter in its entirety here: https://bit.ly/2Wsmop6