Mental health support of COVID-19 frontline workers guidelines released

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Healthcare workers will be psychologically impacted by their work during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and will require psychological support from multiple levels in their organizations, according to a new report by researchers from Queen Mary University of London published in the European Heart Journal.

The report looks at the psychological wellbeing of medical staff, and includes pragmatic recommendations for individuals, teams, and organizational leaders in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The paper highlights the increased pressure staff are under, while having to deal with fears of catching the illness themselves or passing it on to their families, working with new and frequently changing protocols, and caring for very sick and quickly deteriorating patients, all of which can result in acute stress reactions, burnout, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and moral injury.

The authors argue that during the COVID-19 pandemic there are many opportunities to support staff. The paper is structured as a guide and has easy to read sections and tables so that individuals can focus on the section most relevant to them. The paper will be useful for any individual involved in the front-line healthcare response.

Special circumstances such as staff being quarantined and returning to work are covered, including guidance on how organizations can provide tangible support and address any pre-existing stressors. Advice on crisis leadership and how to support distressed colleagues is detailed, including self-care.

Editor’s note: Click here for more information and ongoing COVID-19 updates for integrative healthcare professionals.