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Mental health concerns for healthcare workers


(KION) The COVID-19 crisis has changed daily lives in a drastic way.

"I think it's a time with enormous pressures on everyone, in part we're in a community where we're waiting and not knowing exactly what's going to happen and there's a stress and strain with that," says local healthcare worker Sally Tirado.

For people working on the front lines during the pandemic, stress can be exceptionally high. But local hospitals are doing their part to make sure their workforce remains mentally stable.

CHOMP telling KION in a memo:

We are blessed at this time to not have any COVID-19 patients. All along, we have been supporting our staff by educating them on and providing them with the recommended PPE and other concerns they have had. We want them to feel safe, and to feel comfortable with all the protocols we put in place for our employees, our patients, and our doctors. At this time, our Employee Assistance Program is available to all of our staff to help them resolve a broad range of emotional, family and other personal concerns, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Support includes stress management, marriage/family counseling, financial counseling, emotional issues, alcohol and drug dependency,  legal issues, childcare support, and much more.

Monica Sciuto, MBA
Assistant Director, Communication and Marketing at CHOMP

"We're doing a lot of work to all support each other and to think about how to do self care at the same time," says Tirado.

Natividad released a statement to KION:

Stress, anxiety and pressures of work and everyday life affect us all during these uncertain times. Sometimes those pressures can negatively affect our happiness and productivity. Natividad offers many options to help such as the Employee Assistance Program, which offers tele- and video-counseling, webinars for help managing stress and parenting tips. We know exercise and activity are important tools for stress management and self-care, and are providing virtual exercise classes. We are also offering an Interactive Screening Program, which is an anonymous online screening and treatment program for employees that can help improve mental health"

Hillary Fish
Director of Marketing and Community Relations at Natividad

Meanwhile, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital releasing a statement of their own on the subject.

We cannot overstate the importance of our staff and their well-being during this crisis. We are able to provide a safe and supportive working environment with enough PPE, which automatically reduces the level of anxiety for any healthcare worker. We also offer free counseling and other services through our Employee Assistance Program and we keep the entire team informed with daily updates and communication. In addition, we provide opportunities for appreciation and other positive activities to recognize the important work they are doing for each other, our patients and the community.

Karina Rusk
Director, Public Relations and System Communications at SVMHS

Communication, experts say, is a big part of keeping your mind sharp during these times.

"Don't be alone with this. communicate with friends, communicate with professionals and do exercise and stress relievers that are going be going on each day," says Psychologist Gary Richman.

For those who are struggling mentally during the Pandemic, there are hotlines and resources available:

  • 211 - United Way Monterey County
  • 1-800-273-8255 - Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • 1-800-662-4357 - Substance Abuse Helpline

"Listening to each other and being able to articulate. I think there's something when we can name our feelings, name what were actually feeling internally that that helps rather than having it build within," says Tirado.

Mental health experts on the Central Coast are still available to help, despite operating a bit differently due to social distancing guidelines.

"Though therapists are not in their office, you can connect with some. and so its okay to drop in to have a session with your therapist with some of the stress and overwhelm that you are feeling."

Article Topic Follows: Health

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Max Tarlton

Max Tarlton is a morning anchor at KION News Channel 5/46.


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