Mental Health and Resiliency Tools for Health Care Workers: COVID-19
Tools and resources for health care leaders and workers to deal with common mental, emotional, and psychological concerns they have because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
High demand for medical services over a long period of time puts particular stress on health care settings and staff. This may cause staff shortages as workers get sick or stay home because of stress and anxiety, or for other reasons.
Many things about COVID-19 are still unknown. Health care workers risk infection to care for patients and residents who have this new disease. It is important to actively listen to, understand, and respond to their concerns, which can include:
- Working without needed personal protective equipment or safeguards.
- Witnessing human suffering.
- Making life and death decisions.
- Fear of infecting family members.
- Separation from family.
- Fear of getting sick.
- Mental exhaustion.
Consider making the following strategies part of your mental health and wellness plan. Print the handouts to post in your building and to share with your team.
Address anxieties and concerns
Identify and acknowledge the most common concerns of health care workers. This can help leaders take thoughtful steps toward addressing the concerns. Review the documents below to learn more about these common sources of stress and what can be done about them.
- Ways to Address Health Care Worker Anxieties and Concerns (PDF)
- Handout: Common Staff Fears and Concerns (PDF)
What leaders can do
Learn how to make a mental health plan. These resources outline how to communicate with your team and take the first steps to address common causes of stress and anxiety.
- Tips for Communicating with Health Care Workers (PDF)
- Addressing Anxieties: 7 Things Health Care Leaders Can Do Now (PDF)
- Handout: Seven Things You as a Leader Can Do Right Now (PDF)
Self-care and finding support
These handouts offer steps health care workers can take to manage their own stress, from everyday acts of self-care to finding professional mental health support. Leaders should print these documents and give them to workers, or post where staff can see them.
- Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
- Handout: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself (PDF)
Responding to health emergencies is challenging work. Seeing others suffer adds to the stress. This may cause a loss of energy and feeling overwhelmed. Print and post these tips where staff can see them.
- Handout: COVID-19 Wellness Pocket Guide (PDF)
Print and distribute this guide to workers in your facilities. Instructions: Fold in half horizontally, then fold in half vertically.
- Handout: Where to Turn for Mental Health Support during the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF)
Print and post this document in your building where workers will see it. Add contact information for your provider services.
More tools and resources
- Disaster Mental and Behavioral Health and COVID-19
COVID-19 mental health and behavioral health support and resources for responders, health care workers, communities, families, and workplaces.
- National Institute of Mental Health: 5 Things You Should Know About Stress (PDF)
- SAMHSA: Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health – Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation During an Infectious Disease Outbreak
This fact sheet provides feelings, tips, and resources associated with social distancing, quarantine, and isolation.
- First Responder Toolkit
This app lets disaster responders assess and track how they are doing and gives them suggestions and resources they can use in the field, during breaks, and after shifts/deployments.
- ASPR TRACIE: Grief Following Patient Deaths During COVID-19 (PDF)
- SAMHSA: Psychological First Aid for First Responders
Tips for emergency and disaster response workers when helping disaster survivors who are in great mental distress. It gives ways to manage intense emotions and promote a safe, calm setting.
- ASPR TRACIE: Death of a Colleague During the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF)
- NAMI Minnesota: Crisis Resources
A directory of Minnesota-specific resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
- Virtual Family Assistance Center: Integrated Condolence Care Program
Information and resources from the American Red Cross to help people who lose a loved one to COVID-19. Talk to volunteers trained in behavioral health, spiritual care, and health services, and find national, state, and local resources and training.
- ASPR TRACIE: Mitigate Absenteeism by Protecting Healthcare Workers' Psychological Health and Well-being during the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF)
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: Sustaining the Well-Being of Healthcare Personnel during Coronavirus and other Infectious Disease Outbreaks (PDF)
Information for health care workers about how to take care of themselves, so they can continue to take care of others.
- ASPR TRACIE: Talking With Patients About Advance Directives During the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF)
- ASPR TRACIE: Managing Patient and Family Distress Associated with COVID-19 (PDF)
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: Supporting Families of Healthcare Workers Exposed to COVID-19 (PDF)
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: Discussing Coronavirus with Your Children (PDF)
- Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress: Finding the Right Words to Talk with Children and Teens about Coronavirus (PDF)
- Supporting Senior Mental Well-being in Congregate Living during COVID-19 (PDF)
- University of Minnesota Extension: COVID-19
Ideas and resources for families, students, communities, and farmers. Topics range from family projects, housing and evictions, and preparing a two-week food supply, to learning virtually, stress and change, and more.
- CDC: Healthcare Personnel and First Responders: How to Cope with Stress and Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Psychological First Aid: A Minnesota Community Supported Model – Five-video series, with available CEUs
- CDC: Emergency Responders: Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
- CDC: Coping with Stress
- Self-Care and Applying Psychological First Aid for COVID-19 Responders (YouTube: 15 min)
A training video for health care responders about understanding and dealing with stress during COVID-19.
- Disaster Distress Helpline
Get help during a disaster with the related stress, anxiety and depression. The national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration telephone hotline is open 24 hours a day, every day.
- Text "TalkWithUs" to 66746
- Call 800-985-5990
- Visit SAMHSA: Disaster Distress Helpline for more information.
- "COVID Cares" support services
Minnesota health care workers can get help managing stress and emotions during difficult times. These 20-minute calls are safe, anonymous, and private between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
- Call 833-437-3466
- Visit Minnesota Psychiatric Society: COVID Cares Support Service for more information
- Crisis Text Line
Minnesota crisis services are available 24 hours a day, every day.
- Text "MN" to 74174
- Call **CRISIS (**274747) from a cell phone
- Visit Minnesota Department of Human Services: Adult mental health crisis response phone numbers to get crisis response telephone numbers for your county.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call the hotline 24 hours a day, every day for free, private help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Call 800-273-8255
- Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for information on suicide prevention, risks, and warning signs for you, your loved ones, and professionals.