Health Care Workers Feeling Burn Out: Hospitals Addressing Mental Health Concerns

Posted at 11:04 PM, Jul 09, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — For frontline health care workers battling COVID-19 the hospital can feel like a war room. It turns out it’s having the same effect on health care workers as soldiers. Dan Grossman shows us the situation that's playing out at hospitals across the country.

Similar to the enemy that cannot be seen, the effects of COVID-19 on those fighting it lie under the surface.

“The mental health symptoms tend to peak about 12 months after the actual event”

Dr. Chris Thurstone is the director of behavior health at Denver’s largest hospital.

He says for frontline workers, their mental health is facing an unprecedented challenge. “They describe it as this different of burnout than they’ve felt before”

A few months before COVID hit, the hospital implemented a program developed at Johns Hopkins called RISE- resilience in stressful events. The drop in center at Denver Health saw around 30 hospital employees a day when it opened. Now it’s seeing more than 300

“We’re certainly seeing increased rates of people who are struggling and having a difficult time” said Thom Dunn, a clinical psychologist. Dunn says "it’s not just something hospitals are seeing in our country, but globally."

Researches in Wuhan found 30 to 50 percent of healthcare providers were in a burnout stage before COVID-19 and now that number is up to 75-percent.

“Depression, anxiety, insomnia, substance use: those are the four things we watch out for."

“As things start to settle down and people actually get a chance to breathe, and think, and be themselves again, they might notice that they’re not completely themselves.”

At Denver health calls into the center have increased tenfold as well proving that once COVID-19 becomes manageable another epidemic may soon start to emerge.

“We can’t just get through COVID-19 and then pretend nothing happened.”

“This is placing a stress and strain on every human being, and healthcare workers are human beings and no exception.”

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

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