Most support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, have shifted to virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. In these challenging times, healthcare providers and counselors understand that you need the continued support of others who can relate to your situation and your stress factors. When you are the healthcare professional, though, you need that support as well. Fortunately, there are a number of virtual support groups for healthcare workers as well as online coronavirus resources that will help you get through your anxiety and stress.
May is Mental Health Month and a good time to emphasize the need to reach out for support. Maintaining good mental health is as important as ensuring your physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bonus about virtual meetings is that, even though some of these are located in or near Pennsylvania, they all welcome participants from anywhere in the US.
The Step by Step – COVID-19 Essential Workers Support Group is hosted by the Mental Health Association of Pennsylvania. The group is designed to provide mental health support through peer gathering and discussion. The first two groups are May 20, 10:30 AM-11:30 AM, and May 27, 6 PM-7 PM. Starting June 10, the groups will run the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month, 6 PM-7 PM. To Register, click here. Once you register, you will receive WebEx login information.
Compassionate Listening Circles
The Virtual Compassionate Listening Circles are offered by The Compassion Caravan, a national project led by holistic nurses, and are designed to support nurses and healthcare providers. The 60-minute circles are scheduled for:
- Sundays 2pm EST/ 11am PST
- Mondays TBA
- Wednesdays 6:30pm EST/3:30pm PST
- Thursdays 6:30pm EST/3:30pm PST
- Saturdays 12 noon EST/9:00am PST
Reach out via the contact section to get more information and a Zoom Invite.
The intent of these virtual circles is:
- To offer Compassionate Heart-Center places for nurses and other healthcare workers to be heard.
- To offer Connection.
- To be fully present for others.
- To embrace common humanity.
Circles are a no judgement zone. The privacy of all individuals is to be respected; what is said in the circle, stays in the circle. There is no cross-talk. Shares are to be in regard to oneself and spoken from the I statement. Circle facilitators will remind all participants of these guidelines and support the group in maintaining its emotional, mental, and spiritual safety.
Virtual Support Forums
The Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia (JFCS) hosts Virtual Support Forums, drop-in support group sessions for healthcare professionals every Tuesday and Wednesday. JFCS has also compiled a number of online coronavirus resources to support the unique needs of healthcare professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, including:
- Resources: content on mental health as well as managing anxiety and stress from our clinical team
- Mindfulness Tools: practical tools for staying in the present
- Articles: an opportunity to explore mental health resources in more detail from JFCS staff and outside experts
- Click with JFCS for Healthcare Professionals: a series of helpful videos from JFCS experts on self-care.
Virtual Peer Support
PeerRxMed is a free, peer-to-peer program for physicians and others working in health care designed to provide support, connection, encouragement, resources, and skill-building in order to help participants advance along the Burnout to Thriving Index toward optimal well-being. This program provides regular reminders for weekly, monthly, and quarterly check-ins with a peer. Reminders include exercises that provide structure for you to connect with a colleague or friend.
This program was created by Mark Greenawald, MD, a family physician at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia, to serve as an outlet for physicians to share their thoughts and struggles, especially when COVID-19 continues to consume their daily lives.
Additional Online Resources
In addition to the virtual support groups for healthcare workers, organizations are making available helpful online coronavirus resources. One of those is the Schwartz Center, which provides education, training, and support to hundreds of healthcare members in the US and other countries, supporting hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals each year. The Center has posted Resources for Healthcare Professionals Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic, which includes tips and resources to help you find information you need to continue supporting each other and caring for yourselves during this extremely difficult time.
Providence Continues to Support You During COVID-19
At Providence Treatment, we know that these are challenging times. As a healthcare professional, you are on the front lines of caring for others, but you must also continue to care for yourself. We offer telehealth services for psychological and addiction recovery support during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep everyone safe and healthy. We use a telehealth technology that enables us to remain HIPAA-compliant and ensures your confidentiality is maintained. You can overcome addiction with outpatient treatment at Providence Treatment. If you need help, contact us at 484.469.9592.