Healthcare workers–not just physicians and nurses, but also hospital staff, therapists and counselors–are experiencing exponentially worsening mental health.
They bore the physical and emotional brunt of the pandemic’s early waves, and were in the throes of pandemic burnout 1.0 when “normal” ever-so-briefly seemed to return. Now, as the COVID-19 Delta variant surges (with looming threats of alpha, beta, gamma and others), hospitals fill to capacity, and societal tensions flare, health workers around the country are out of the frying pan and right into the fire.
Highlighting the significance of this escalated situation, a January 2021 systematic review identified “the need for urgent interventions aimed at protecting HCWs from the psychological impact of traumatic events related to the pandemic and leading to [PTSD].”
However, healthcare workers are overwhelmingly unlikely to seek support for their stress. So who can help these healthcare heroes handle the enormous mental and emotional weight, when the medical system itself has perpetuated unusually high mental health stigma among this particular population, and hospital resources have already been decimated?
Anonymous peer-to-peer support that’s available 24/7/365 on-demand is one way to help healthcare workers address the emotional fallout.
Safeguarding health workers means protecting both their physical and mental well-being, because emotional stress depletes the immune system. Yet, reluctance to seek mental health support abounds, due mainly to systematically ingrained stigma, but also the impracticality of scheduling during a crisis.
Early on in the first COVID-19 cycle, Supportiv, the online, anonymous peer-to-peer support network, was among the very first in early March 2020 to provide truly on-demand access to mental health resources for health professionals and staff, offering them its round-the-clock, no-wait peer support at no cost.
The free peer-to-peer support chats for health workers were featured by NYC Well and other regional organizations, and their immediate high utilization by healthcare workers showed how eager providers were for this type of human connection and compassion from those who truly understood what they were going through–true peers who also had shared lived experience. Opening up about their own emotional pain offered purpose, as it helped others grappling with the same complex feelings. The sessions lifted the participants spirits and re-motivated them.
Now that the Covid resurgence has sent health workers into overdrive once more, Supportiv wants to step up again, at scale. The emotional consequences for health providers and staff will only continue to compound.
We’re taking a proactive stance on getting accessible support to the people who need it most, and believe that in a time when whole hospital systems are taxed to their limit, sustainability means support.
Healthcare workers, we see you!
Whether you’re a physician, nurse, tech, assistant, facilities or staff member, EMT, pharmacist or mental health professional, you can only stretch yourself so far. Supportiv, the *anonymous* peer-to-peer support network, would like to help ease your burden with 24/7 emotional support, available digitally from anywhere, with all fees 100% waived.
1. Go to supportiv.com
2. Click “Chat Now”
3. Enter the code “HEALERS”, which is just for you to receive free, 24/7 unlimited access, redeemable now through September 30.
Type a few words about your struggle and get matched in under a minute into a live, professionally moderated peer-to-peer chat.
We match you with peers who specifically understand your struggle. Your identity is completely anonymous, and we operate without judgement. Trolls are prevented from sidelining our chats because professionally trained moderators facilitate each chat, live in real-time, with the ability to remove anyone who isn’t there for the right reasons. You’ll get the appreciation and validation you need to continue carrying this burden on behalf of everyons who’s relying on you.
You may understandably be feeling anxious, fearful, angry, frustrated, and fed up. You are human, too, and you’re allowed to feel overwhelmed. In your situation, it’s natural.
Nonetheless, you continue to care for COVID-19 patients, despite the risk to your own lives and families.
Much like last time, you may feel pressured to work because so many of your colleagues have already gotten sick or quit, and your facility is short-staffed. We recognize that you again may have to make tough calls on who gets care, equipment, beds, etc. You will be facing families with heart-breaking news. These are moral and emotional burdens that are no fault of your own.
We want you to know:
It is NOT selfish to feel tired of taking care of people.
It is NOT selfish to feel drained by being so relied upon.
It is NOT selfish to want to get your negative emotions off your chest.
When you feel this way, it is our turn to support you.
More than just a safe place to vent and feel heard, Supportiv also provides coping tools and resources to get you through stressful times. You’ll find step-by-step exercises, and other ways to manage your stress so you can maintain your emotional and physical health.
Our entire global peer support team cares about you, and is trained and ready to help you.
You’re everybody else’s support system. Now, more than ever, Supportiv is here to be yours.
To read more about this effort, find the full article on Medium, here.