Healthcare workers encouraged to take care of mental health amid spike in COVID cases

U.S. & World

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — As the winter months approach and the delta variant spreads, Miami Valley healthcare professionals say they are once again facing increased mental stressors. Because of this, healthcare workers are encouraging their colleagues to take care of their mental health.

“If you look at our frontline healthcare providers, our nurses, physicians, our bedside therapists, our physical therapists, our respiratory therapists — everybody has had an increase in the amount of stress related to the management of COVID patients,” said Dr. Roberto Colón, chief medical officer at Premier Health‘s Miami Valley Hospital.

Registered nurse and clinical liaison with Haven Behavioral Hospital, Cyndi Fritz, said that concern goes deeper than just personal stressors, with some of their biggest concerns on their minds involving time and quality care to the community members they serve. 

Fritz said she commonly questions, “How in the world do we get all of that testing and the monitoring and getting all that done while maintaining good patient care?”

But some of their other worries, she said, involve seeing people ill and isolated, often with limited visitation from family members. She said social isolation is also becoming a personal concern, as healthcare workers aim to prevent spreading the virus for a second year.

“But the thing people are feeling the most is the frustration that we had at our disposal, this great tool in vaccinations that could have helped this even more,” said Colón, “And that’s something that is real at the bedside because we hear the stories from the patients having regret that they didn’t get vaccinated after they come in and they have [COVID] this severe because they had the opportunity.”

Either way, medical professionals are committed to taking the best possible care of patients — but Fritz said that starts with healthcare workers paying close attention to their own mental and physical health. 

“I enjoy my drive home,” she said. “I have a little bit of a drive and that gives me a little bit of a chance to decompress.”

The advice she gives to other healthcare workers is to, “take time to take your breaks. Even though I know that everybody’s extremely busy, but the breaks are very important for you and your mental health. And even if you just take a moment to go around the corner and sit for just a moment and take some deep breaths and control your breathing, that will do a lot for you.”

Fritz said those struggling with their mental health as it relates to the pandemic should reach out to Haven Behavioral Hospital or their primary care doctor for help.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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