On the three-month milestone of the global pandemic, Cohen Veterans Network(CVN) announced the results of a national survey of frontline healthcare providers (HCPs) and first responders that showed that COVID-19 has taken a significant toll on their physical and mental health. CVN also announced that clinicians from Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics across the country are now offering mental health resources to frontline healthcare providers and first responders in New York City – the epicenter of the COVID-19 Outbreak in the United States. CVN clinicians from Killeen, Texas, San Diego, California, and Washington, D.C., will participate. Through its work with veterans and military families, CVN has extensive experience treating the impacts of PTSD and Trauma
To better understand the need, CVN recently surveyed more than 500 frontline healthcare providers and first responders nationally for its Cohen Veterans Network America’s Mental Health Frontline Survey. Key findings included:
- Impacts to Mental Health
- Many HCPs in both the national sample and NYC area reported trouble sleeping, feeling anxious, challenges parenting, feeling sad or depressed, eating too much or too little, feeling socially isolated, or experiencing headaches, stomach aches or other body pain.
- Both nationwide and within the NYC area, HCPs describe themselves as:
- Anxious (47% nationally, 54% NYC)
- Concerned (66% nationally, 68% NYC)
- Worn out (46% nationally, 58% NYC)
- Scared (19% Nationally, 29% NYC)
- 55% of all first responders and frontline healthcare providers say they are concerned about their overall mental health, led by HCPs (60%).
- Three-in-four respondents said they or their co-workers would be interested in the types of resources on mental health care provided by the Cohen Veterans Network.
- Challenges Accessing Mental Health Resources
- 9 in 10 (95%) HCP’s and first responders said they think access to mental healthcare for all Americans is more important as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Roughly two-thirds of respondents (61%) say the coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult to access mental healthcare services.
- If they felt they needed help from a mental health professional, first responders nationally are more likely to worry than HCPs about colleagues finding out they needed help (38% vs. 28%) or their employer/supervisor finding out they needed help (38% vs. 25%.)
- Concerns About Physical Health of Self and Family. First responders and frontline healthcare providers are concerned about their health and the health of their families
- Nationwide, HCPs are more likely to say their job is putting the lives of their family at risk because of the coronavirus (73%) compared to first responders (58%).
- Nationally, one in ten HCPs (12%) and first responders (13%) said they lost someone close to them as a result of the pandemic.
- Impacts to Mental Health
“Our survey shows that first responders and frontline healthcare providers are experiencing extreme stress and anxiety related to COVID-19,” said CVN CEO & President Dr. Anthony Hassan. “We believe our experience working with veterans with PTSD, trauma, and loss can directly benefit this critical group.”
Frontline healthcare providers and first responders, and their adult family members, in New York City are now eligible for no-cost mental health support from CVN. This population includes NYPD, FDNY, and Paramedics, as well as frontline healthcare providers at NYC hospitals and other healthcare facilities. This support will be available throughout 2020 and may be expanded, depending on need.
Cohen Veterans Network will initially offer two resources to support healthcare workers:
- Mental Health Resource Center. CVN has launched a resource center – CVN Frontline – where first responders and frontline healthcare providers can access on-demand mental healthcare programming and asynchronous training from a range of sources through short videos, online tools, and assignments.
- Support Groups. CVN will offer ongoing non-clinical support groups facilitated by licensed clinicians across its network that directly focus on issues that may most impact frontline healthcare providers. The first group will focus on General Coping Skills and Managing Distress and, over time, may include other areas of focus as needed. These groups will be conducted online.
COVID-19 Impacts on First Responders and Frontline Healthcare Providers
Working with The Harris Poll, CVN recently surveyed 523 frontline healthcare providers and first responders across the U.S. to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the mental health of this population.
“We know from our previous survey, that the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of everyday Americans,” Hassan said. “We now see the impacts on first responders and frontline healthcare providers and their families is even more severe. We stand ready to help.”
First responders and frontline healthcare providers can learn more about accessing these resources at www.cohenveteransnetwork.org/frontline.
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