New service connects healthcare professionals to mental health resources

The Ohio State Medical Association has announced the launch of a free, anonymous service to help healthcare workers screen for mental and emotional health issues statewide.

Brian Santin, a vascular surgeon and president of the association, said Wednesday that the emotional toll on medical professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic has strained the profession.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Santin said the medical association’s new Well-Being CARE service aims to help medical professionals normalize the conversation about mental and emotional health issues, empowering them to take action to get the support they need.

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“It should come as no surprise that the last two years of the pandemic have had a tremendous emotional and mental impact on doctors, nurses and just about everyone working in the healthcare system,” Santin said. “When healthcare workers are supported physically and mentally, we are able to do what we do best – and that is caring for our patients.”

Physicians affected by burnout and depression amid COVID-19 pandemic

A survey of 13,000 physicians in 29 specialties on physician burnout and depression released in January by Medscape, a health care publication, found physicians nationwide were facing ongoing COVID stress and d other challenges. Those who experience the most emotional and mental health problems are those in the fields of emergency medicine at 60% and intensive care at 56%.

According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, 66% of nurses surveyed believe their experiences during the pandemic caused them to consider leaving nursing. A staggering 92% of nurses surveyed said the pandemic has exhausted nurses in their hospitals and as a result, they believe their careers will be shorter than expected.

The new Well-Being CARE service is free, confidential, and available to all Ohio-licensed healthcare professionals, including students enrolled in healthcare education programs. The Ohio Physicians Health Program, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Physician Foundation assisted in the development and operation of the service, the state medical association said.

Healthcare professionals can access the new service by going online to WellBeingCARE.org, where they can complete a brief mental and emotional health assessment, receive referrals for mental health services in their community, and have the option to connect privately with a licensed mental health professional. .

The state medical association also partners with organizations across the state that employ, represent, or communicate with medical professionals, to help raise awareness of the importance of emotional and mental health and the new service. . Throughout 2022, the association and partner organizations plan to host local events for healthcare workers to promote service availability and have important conversations about healthcare providers and their well-being. -be.

Santin said everyone in Ohio can support mental health awareness for healthcare workers by encouraging those they know in the field to visit the website and receive a free private screening.

Todd Baker, CEO of the state medical association, said the organization sees this as a grassroots effort within the profession to help fellow medical professionals.

“When colleagues talk to colleagues in healthcare, they’re very direct and have no problem connecting on things related to physical health,” Baker said. “Everyone knows someone who can deal with a physical problem. Where we see it helping is providing that on-ramp for mental health inspection.

Cole Behrens is a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, covering public safety and breaking news. You can reach him at CBehrens@dispatch.com or find him on Twitter at @Colebehr_report

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