There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all way to cope with a global pandemic. We’re complicated people; what we need often changes by the day. This virus has ripple effects that extend to your family, your finances, and your career. Because every day is a new challenge, ACEP has created a new Wellness Hub to help you find the support you need, when you need it. Here’s a peek:
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 39 – No 06 – June 2020
Not sure what assistance would be best? The Wellness Hub is organized into support pathways that make it simple to parse your options, from peer forums and support to a list of companies offering free crisis support for frontline health care workers.
Sometimes you just need to talk to someone who “gets it,” and no one really understands what you’re going through like fellow emergency physicians.
- Let’s Talk is a member-only online forum that aims to create a safe space where members can discuss ongoing challenges within their roles, emergency departments, and life in general. We understand some topics are difficult to discuss, so this is the only EngagED forum that allows anonymous posting—even the moderator can’t see identifying information.
- ACEP is developing a peer support program that launched with an introductory webinar on June 11. “Who’s Got Your Back? Psychiatric Awareness & Team Support” focused on the value of peer support and how emergency physicians can support one another during times of crisis. The program is based on the concept that peer support provides a sense of belonging through shared experiences. When you can express frustrations, share coping strategies, and have honest conversations about your experiences, you can build a common foundation and deeper relationships.
- COVID Captures is ACEP’s new platform created to record COVID-19 history as it happens. Research shows that keeping a diary—written or recorded—can help a person process their experiences. The mission of COVID Captures is twofold: 1) make it simple for emergency physicians to record firsthand accounts of pandemic response that can informfuture generations; and 2) give ACEP members a place to record video diaries as a way of processing the COVID-19 experience alongside their peers.
Crisis and Wellness Support
When ACEP released a joint statement supporting the removal of barriers to clinician mental health care (see “Advocating for Physician Wellness and Breaking Down Stigmas” at right), ACEP President Bill Jaquis, MD, FACEP, emphasized: “A physician’s choice to address his or her mental health should be encouraged, not penalized.”
To that end, the Wellness Hub provides a full list of free counseling and wellness coaching options available to ACEP members. Whether you prefer in-person sessions or you’d rather text with a professional counselor, you can find an option that works for you.
ACEP’s Wellness & Assistance Program offers members three free crisis support, counseling, or wellness sessions in partnership with Mines & Associates. Sessions are available 24-7 by phone, text, or online messaging, or you can schedule a face-to-face appointment near your office, home, or school. Sessions can cover COVID-19-related stress or everyday issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, family issues, drug and alcohol abuse, relationships, death and grief, and more. This program also includes wellness coaching sessions, 30-minute phone calls with National Board of Medical Examiners–certified wellness coaches who can help you set specific wellness goals and plan for progress checks along the way to help you reach your objectives. This program is strictly confidential.
Many organizations are stepping up to provide free crisis support to health care workers during COVID-19. Whether you prefer to have a video chat or simply text back and forth with someone, there are many options available. We’ve gathered them all into a list so you can find the best fit for you.
Sources of Stress and Topical Tools
For those who want to start at the source, resources have been organized into some of the most common contributors to stress for emergency physicians: patient care, workplace, financial, personal, and litigation.
The concept of “physician wellness” is such a broad umbrella that encompasses many specific areas of research, so the Wellness Hub provides a topic-based section covering COVID-19, posttraumatic stress disorder, compassion fatigue, physician suicide, burnout, and diversity/equity issues.
We’re in This Together
As we settle into the long-term stage of this pandemic, just remember that it’s okay to not be okay. This isn’t a Pixar movie; this real-life “hero work” is exhausting. Just like a marathon runner stops for hydration and energy bars along the route, you may need to check in with your peers or a crisis counselor to keep yourself in the race. Find the support you need.
Ms. Grantham is ACEP’s communications manager.