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Health care workers mental health has taken a toll this past year

Published: Apr. 3, 2021 at 1:35 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - Health care workers have sacrificed a lot this past year with the pandemic. While everyone was advised to stay inside, they were out on the front lines doing their best, but with that it has a taken a toll on their mental health. Adriana Sanchez has the story.

Health care workers became one of our heroes in the fight against Covid-19. Not knowing when there would be light at then end of the tunnel, they still showed up to work. But with that strength, it has put a strain on their mental health.

“And health care workers as a group have been more deeply affected in the mental health side by the pandemic than the general public had so the numbers and percentages are worse for health care workers,” said CEO of Mental Health America Paul Gionfriddo.

“We’ve been so aware of the  impact that this pandemic had had on our health care workers, we really pivoted back in March of 2020 we really began offering weekly virtual support groups training specifically focused on strengthening resiliency and managing stress we also provided services such as on sight critical incident debriefings  and individual support for employees as their household members,” said Sheila Thibodeau, Director for Northern Light Health’s Work Force Employee Assistance Program & Training.

CNA’s, RN’s, LPN’s, Doctors – anyone who is in the health care field endured what some might say was the unimaginable. In some cases, Health care workers being on the front lines meant they couldn’t be with their immediate family for their safety, which put a strain on them and their families.

“I think it took us probably three months to get us some traction and on the mental health side and yet we noticed the increase in anxiety literally on the first few days that people were learning about the pandemic and we also began to document the increase in depression literally within the first two to three weeks,” said Gionfriddo.

With so much unknown and stress Presque Isle Rehab and Nursing Center saw the toll it was taking on their employees. While they were constantly checking on one another & being their own support group they also had other resources available.

Danielle Lawerence, Director of Social Services of Presque Isle Rehab and Nursing Center said, “The state of Maine did offer an 1800 number out to health care workers that could be accessed we also internally really supported one another. Those numbers were reported all over the facility so if there was anybody struggling, they could find the number of who to call and we can reach out to anybody locally if we needed too.”

You can visit Mental Health Americas’ website at www.mhanational.org/ to find services for you.

If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact 1-800-273-8255.

Adriana Sanchez NewsSource 8

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