Help to cope with stress: a hotline has appeared for doctors struggling with COVID-19
Calls in medical support service - 1 (888) 409-01-41 - often begin with an apology from a desperate doctor.
“They say something like, 'Sorry to bother you,'” said Dr. Mona Masoud, who, with the help of four other psychiatrists, opened a hotline to help doctors manage stress in the fight against coronavirus.
“They then talk about the patients they treated, how they need to go to work, that they don't have proper personal protective equipment, that they feel overwhelmed and don't feel supported by the authorities,” Masoud says. ...
Some doctors already, as Masood said, already "were in the balance of depression, and then there was a coronavirus."
“All those things that put pressure on them before had to be put on the back burner when COVID-19 happened, and then they all burned out,” Masoud said.
Laura Breen's father, Dr. Philip Breen, called her another “victim” of the pandemic and said she had no mental health problems.
Dr. Smith Gautam, a Chicago psychiatrist and co-founder of the hotline, says she fears that Bryn could become one of many before the virus disappears.
“Doctors are usually perfectionists who find it difficult to seek help,” Gautam said.
Masoud said that although many doctors are grateful for the public demonstration of gratitude, others feel too guilty.
“All of a sudden we are called heroes and put on a pedestal, and we have a deep fear that we are not heroes,” Masood said. "Some doctors feel vulnerable and have nowhere to express it."
Dr. Margaret Seide, a psychiatrist from New York who is not affiliated with the hotline, says this is not uncommon among doctors.
“Many doctors feel they are not worthy of praise,” she said. “Even though they saved 10 people that day, they think of one person who could not be saved.”
On the subject: 20 professions with the highest risk of coronavirus infection
Bryn worked at Allen’s New York Presbyterian Hospital, in northern Manhattan.
After the news of her death became known, grieving workers were asked to speak with a consultant - a standard procedure in many hospitals, as well as at companies such as NBCUniversal.
Masoud said that she realized that a hotline specifically for doctors, which was staffed by doctors, was necessary.
“I found so many reports about personal mental health,” she said. "Doctors had daily stress, as well as anticipatory concerns about patients and doctors getting sick and bringing the virus home to their families."
Hot line works daily from 8:00 a.m. until midnight (according to the time of the east coast of the USA) by number 1 (888) 409-01-41. Everything is free and confidential.
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