Even before COVID-19 ravaged the medical workforce, physicians, nurses, and other health workers were at increased risk for burnout and depression. Although these professionals are equipped to manage the intensity of a medical crisis, they're not necessarily trained to deal with the mental health aftermath. The high-profile suicides of two health care workers in the early months of the pandemic may hint at the COVID-19 mental health crisis to come.
According to Lynette Charity, MD, the pandemic has amplified an already existing problem within the medical profession. "Physicians, nurses, and other health workers are experiencing serious burnout caused by COVID-19 but many are afraid to seek care as it could imperil their licensure and reputation. They need mental health support now more than ever..."
Dr. Charity understands people want doctors in prime cognitive condition, but sanctioning them for having treatable mental health disorders is not the answer. Doctors need to feel safe and supported in the workplace. By opening up the conversation and placing priority on mental health, doctors feel less isolated and are enabled to take better care of themselves and their patients.