Top 5 Mental Health Tips in healthcare COVID-19 of all Types can use to cope during this difficult time during the COVID-19

Mental health is one of the most important healthcare topics. Since individuals in the healthcare industry are the first line of defense against infection, especially today’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, they must keep themselves healthy physically as well as mentally. Here are the  of healthcare during COVID-19.  Providers of all types, clinical and non-clinical alike,  can use some help by simply applying some of these COVID-19 5 mental health tips providers  to cope with the stress associated with the it.

TIP # 1 - Understanding Stress

A recently released article by Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School provides some excellent mental health insights for clinicians on how to handle stress at work. “How to handle stress at work” written by Nicole J. LeBlanc, MA and Luana Marques, PhD

The first they point out is to understand how your body reacts to stress.  Most clinicians are well accustomed to the typical mental health stressors associated with the delivery of healthcare.  However, the Coronavirus has challenged even the most adept professional from an emotional standpoint.  It is worth reminding you and those that work around you of these three essential components of stress.  Normal work stressors occur to everyone, no matter what job or career they are in that manifest into physical symptoms

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Faster breathing rate
  • Tense muscle and then associated muscle fatigue

All the while, you start telling yourself, “I’m going to get fired if I make a mistake in inpatient care or make a mistake that hurts my patient, myself, and my team.”

If untreated, stress at work quickly can degenerate to the psychological symptoms called burnout.  Warning symptoms of burnout are overpowering fatigue, skepticism, and a sense of distrust. Work-related stressors connected with burnout. Examples are having considerably too much work or too little autonomy, unsatisfactory pay, lack of cooperation between coworkers, inequality or lack of respect, and a disparity between workplace and personal values. Even the most seasoned Clinician is not immune to the effects of Mental Health stress associated with your work. These Mental Health tips for providers of all types during COVID-19 Coronovirus can overcome  substantial challenges during this crisis

TIP # 2 - Stay socially connected with your colleagues, friends and loved ones

Stay connected

  • Some workers may, unfortunately, experience avoidance by their family or community due to stigma or fear.
  • This can make an already challenging situation far more difficult.
  • If possible, stay connected with your loved ones.
  • Digital methods are one way to maintain contact.
  • Turn to your coworkers, your manager, or other trusted persons for social support- your coworkers may be having related events to you. 
  • More now than ever, we need to be addressing Mental Health tips for providers of all types during COVID-19 Coronovirus
healthcare communication

TIP # 3 - Don't Forget to take care of YOU

Employ helpful coping strategies:

  • Ensure rest and respite during work or between shifts.
  • Eat sufficient and healthy food.
  • Engage in physical activity.
  • Stay in contact with family and friends.
  • Avoid using negative coping approaches such as tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
  • In the long term, these can inflame your mental and physical well-being.
Staying healthy

These top 5 Mental Health Tips for providers of all types during COVID-19 Coronovirus. But some other skills and methods could especially useful during this challenging time.

  • Relaxation strategies. Relaxation helps counteract the physical effects of the fight-or-flight response. For example, progressive muscle relaxation helps decrease muscle strain associated with nervousness. To practice this skill, sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Working from your legs upward, systematically tense, and relax each major muscle group. Hold the tension for 10 seconds; release tension for 20 seconds. Each time you release muscle tension, think “relax” to yourself. This skill and many other relaxation strategies can help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Problem-solving. Problem-solving is an active coping strategy that requires teaching people to take steps when approaching a barrier or challenge. These measures include defining the problem, brainstorming potential solutions, developing an action plan, and testing the chosen solution.
  • Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to the present moment with curiosity, openness, and acceptance. Stress can be exacerbated when we spend time musing about the past, fretting about the future, or engaging in self-criticism. Mindfulness helps to train the brain to break these harmful habits. An easy to breakdown thinking about the past and worrying about the future is to remember this simple common phrase

“You will only get depressed thinking about the past and anxious if you try and think far into the future.” 

In other words, focus on living “one day at a time” whenever possible.

TIP # 4 - When treating patients work as a team and support each other

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported in the value of working as a team that supports each other.  Their article “Teamwork: The Heart of Health Care”  sites a 2014 study in Health Care Management Review that “More than 70 percent of medical errors are attributable to dysfunctional team dynamics.”  

As you will note, this report is well before COVID-19 was thrust upon the Wolds healthcare community.  And the importance of teamwork is more critical more than ever.  Some basic things to consider in the clinical work setting. Applying even some of these top 5 Mental Health Tips for providers will see marked improvement for all.

Physician to Physician Telemedicine

 

  • Ensure excellent quality communication and accurate information updates are provided to all staff.
  • Rotate workers from high-stress to lower-stress functions.
  • Partner those with limited experience with their more experienced healthcare colleagues to ensure the inexperienced worker is supported.
  • The buddy system helps to provide support, monitor stress, and reinforce safety procedures.
  • Initiate, encourage, and monitor work breaks.
  • Implement flexible schedules for workers who are directly impacted or have a family member impacted by a stressful event. 
TIP # 5 - Make help available

In the face of the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 Pandemic and the accompanying global public health emergency, the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience is giving its attention to this issue.

  • If you are a team leader or manager in a health facility, facilitate access to, and ensure staff is aware of where they can access mental health and psychosocial support services.
  • Managers and team leads are also facing similar stressors as their staff, and potentially additional pressure in the level of responsibility of their role.
  • It is important that the above provisions and strategies are in place for both workers and managers, and that managers can role-model self-care strategies to mitigate stress.

It has never been more important than now to lift the stigma associated with mental health.  Leaders can set the example by talking openly about the reality that these are normal feelings and that there are many confidential resources available to clinicians to help reduce this normal stress and anxiety feeling that they and everyone around them are feeling.

Resources Available for healthcare workers both clinical and non-clinical

Resources to Support the Health and Well-Being of Clinicians during the Pandemic

Global Health Organizations

World Health Organization

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak: Rights, Roles, and Responsibilities of Health Workers, Including Key Considerations for Occupational Safety and Health

Occupational Safety and Health During Public Health Emergencies – A manual for protecting health workers and responders

Fatigue (pgs. 47-50)

Psychosocial stress during outbreaks and emergencies (pgs. 50-55)

Personal protective equipment (pg. 100)

Psychological First Aid: Guide for Field Workers

U.S. Government Agencies

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Managing Fatigue During Times of Crisis: Guidance for Nurses, Managers, and Other Healthcare Workers

Guidance for employers on the protection of workers from COVID-19

Highlights resources available for the protection of workers in business, health care, laboratory, and transportation settings

Includes information on infection control and personal protective equipment in healthcare and non-healthcare settings

Resources for Emergency Responders

Traumatic incident stress

Long work hours, and fatigue training for emergency responders

Emergency responder health monitoring and surveillance

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019

Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19

Emergency Responders: Tips for taking care of yourself

Reducing Stigma

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health During an Infectious Disease Outbreak

Preventing and Managing Stress: Tips for Disaster Responders

Understanding Compassion Fatigue: Tips for Disaster Responders

Returning to Work: Tips for Disaster Responders

Helping Staff Manage Stress When Returning to Work

Tips for Survivors: Coping with Grief After a Disaster or Traumatic Event

Disaster Distress Helpline (brochure)

SAMHSA Disaster App (including help for survivors of infectious disease epidemics)

SAMHSA Disaster App YouTube video

Disaster Behavioral Health Preparedness and Response Resources

Identifying Substance Misuse in the Responder Community

Tips for Survivors of a Disaster or Traumatic Event: What to Expect in Your Personal, Family, Work, and Financial Life

Having Trouble Coping After a Disaster? Talk With Us. Disaster Distress Helpline Wallet Card.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health

Shareable Resources on Coping with COVID-19

Video: Five Things About Staying Mentally Healthy During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Coping with Traumatic Events

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Library of Medicine

LitCovid Literature Hub (Note: Search “well-being,” “well-being,” “wellness,” “burnout”)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General

Hospital Experiences Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Results of a National Pulse Survey on March 23-27, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Resilience Resources for Emergency Response

U.S. Department of Defense, Military Health System, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress

COVID-19 Pandemic Response Resources

Sustaining the Well-Being of Healthcare Personnel During Coronavirus and Other Infectious Disease Outbreaks

Fight COVID-19 with Better Sleep Health: A Guide for Hospital Workers

Supporting Families of Healthcare Workers Exposed to COVID-19

Notifying Families After a COVID-19 Death

Mental Health and Behavioral Guidelines for Preparedness and Response to Coronavirus and Other Emerging Infectious Outbreaks

Psychological Effects of Quarantine During the Coronavirus Outbreak: What Healthcare Providers Need to Know

Grief Leadership During COVID-19

Psychological Effects of Quarantine During the Coronavirus Outbreak: What Public Health Leaders Need to Know

Leaders’ Guide to Risk Communication In The Face of Coronavirus and Other Emerging Public Health Threats

Coronavirus Preparedness & Response: Critical Elements for Business Planning

Associations and Organizations

 American Academy of Pediatrics

Resilience in Stressful Times and Connecting During Times of Trauma

American Academy of Physician Assistants

PA Andrea Lowe: Pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Call on Congress to Protect Health Care Workers and First Responders from COVID-19

Webinar: Protecting Health Care Workers – Lessons Learned from Taiwan and Italy

American College of Physicians 

COVID-19: An ACP Physician’s Guide and Resources

Webinar: COVID-19: Practical Advice and Support from Internists on the Front Lines

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Information for Internists

COVID-19 Telehealth Coding and Billing Information

American Council on Education

Webinar: Managing Well-Being During the COVID-19 Crisis (Note: Must create an account to view)

American Dental Education Association

A Pandemic Resource Guide for Dental Education (includes well-being and resiliency resources, Section X)

American Medical Association

Caring for Our Caregivers During COVID-19

Coping with COVID-19 for Caregivers – Monitoring Survey

Caring for the Healthcare Workforce Steps Forward module

Quick Guide to Telemedicine in Practice (includes billing information)

CPT Codes for COVID-19

Physician’s Guide to COVID-19

American Psychiatric Association

Coronavirus and Mental Health: Taking Care of Ourselves During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

American Psychological Association

Recovering Emotionally from Disaster

American Student Dental Association

Dental Student Resources on Health and Wellness

Antares Foundation

Managing Stress in Humanitarian Workers: Guidelines for Good Practice

Chaplaincy Innovation Lab

Resources for Chaplains During COVID-19

Coalition for Physician Accountability

Safeguard the Public, Protect our Health Care Workforce during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Mental Health America

Information and resources for Mental Health Providers

National Alliance on Mental Illness

COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide

Physicians for Human Rights

Health Workers’ Voices and Safety Must Be Protected

Surgeon Masters

Webinars: Surgeon Wellness During COVID-19 Community Focus Group

Health Care Providers and Schools of Health Professions

Columbia University Department of Psychiatry and AllenComm

Managing Anxiety and Stress in the Time of COVID-19 

Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai

System-Wide Well-Being Staff Resources During COVID-19

#REVAMP_CoV2: REVAMPing COVID-19 Individual and Community Well-Being and Resilience Campaign, initiated by medical trainees for health professionals

hashtag (#REVAMP_CoV2) for social media, to share stories of positivity, gratitude, awe, and the inspiring acts that are happening all around us

An Instagram account (@REVAMP_CoV2) for updates, tagging, building community, a place to turn to seek advice or wisdom on how to be well during this time

A Facebook page (Revamp_CoV2) for all of the above

The Ohio State University, Office of the Chief Wellness Officer

Staying Calm and Well in the Midst of the COVID-19 Storm Webinar Series

Coping with COVID-19 Resources

Well-Being Hub for Travel Nurses during the COVID-19 crisis

University of North Carolina Department of Psychiatry

Webinar: Mental Health and Well-Being Survival Guide for COVID-19

Peer-Reviewed Journals, Textbooks, and Trade Press 

Annals of Internal Medicine

Supporting Clinicians During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Cambridge University Press, Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry

Chapter – “Pandemics: Health Care Emergencies”

Disaster Prevention and Management

Evaluation of an organization-based psychological first aid intervention

JAMA

Understanding and Addressing Sources of Anxiety Among Health Care Professionals During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Supporting the Health Care Workforce During the COVID-19 Global Epidemic

Older Clinicians and the Surge in Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Mental Health Consequences of COVID-19 and Physical Distancing

Psychiatric Times

The Role of Psychiatrists During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Science Magazine

Health care workers seek to flatten COVID-19’s ‘second curve’ – their rising mental anguish.