Anxiety, depression, mood changes, and social withdrawal are among the many mental health symptoms experienced by healthcare professionals during the pandemic. Add to that a host of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-like symptoms — from feeling disconnected from day-to-day work to feeling frayed at the edges — while at the same time not being willing or able to back away from the firefight. As emerging variants create new waves of cases and hospitalizations, we face an entirely new kind of burnout.
Previous outbreaks and early evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic suggest that these events have significant short- and long-term effects on the mental health of those of us in the helping professions. Whether we are emergency room workers or mental health therapists seeing clients on our computer screens from home, the associated trauma of being on the front lines of the pandemic has thwarted our productivity, lowered our ability to tolerate stress, and dealt a massive blow to our confidence. Let’s discuss how to address the reality of our badly traumatized workforce, put our well-being at the forefront, stay psychologically flexible, and find or revive relationships that will reconnect us to a community of support.
After attending this session, participants will be able to:
• Understand the pandemic’s impact on the healthcare and mental healthcare workforce.
• Appreciate how trauma associated with the pandemic impacts the mental health and daily functioning of healthcare and mental health workers.
• Demonstrate an understanding of strategies healthcare professionals can use to ward off pandemic-related mental health challenges, including burnout and social disconnection.