What the Workforce Needs Right Now: Resources for Health & Behavioral Health Professionalsby Ellen Fink-Samnick MSW, ACSW, LCSW, CCM, CRP on 04/11/20
Like many of my colleagues, I’ve spent the better part of the past few weeks trying to wrap my head around this latest pandemic, and the impact for patients and practitioners. It is almost too massive to comprehend, with clients and clinicians engaged in mutual crisis. Students, new, and even the most seasoned professionals are in need of constant support to center and focus on their priorities. This dynamic is unprecedented and evoking ongoing attention to the health and mental health of the workforce. New dimensions of countertransference and vicarious trauma manifest across every practice setting and every profession, with ambiguous loss a chronic theme for all. Assurance to wholistic and integrate care is the mandate as a juggling of health, physical health, and social determinants of health ensues. Everyone is wrestling with when the new norm will appear, and what it will resemble.
Maintaining engagement with patient populations has been the priority, particularly for those persons who in need of behavioral health (individual, couples, families, and groups), primary care, and other specialty services. Telehealth has become more popular than ever, though the digital divide for many continues. Not all providers are proficient, comfortable, or able to engage in these platforms courtesy of a host of factors; limited to non-existent funding, WI-FI or broadband, in addition to technology proficiency and licensure limitations imposed by lack of licensure portability for a majority of practitioners. Recent CMS regulatory shifts fell short in only advancing telehealth licensure and access for physicians, nurse practitioners, hospice nurses, and occupational therapists; a help but far from comprehensive attention to health and behavioral health needs. How disheartening to exclude behavioral health professionals from this action (e.g., LCSWs, LPCs, LMFTs, to name a few), particularly with the frontline workforce in such desperate need of mental health support.
Hospitals and health systems, federally qualified health centers, the prisons, and neighborhood clinics struggle to assure intervention and resource access for populations in constant need. Schools are struggling with what feels like, every child left behind. Historic numbers of unemployed have been added to the tally of those seeking services and resources for food, housing, and unemployment. Those members of society who have been the most vulnerable members in the past, are at even greater risk as seniors, children and adults with disabilities, the homeless, veterans, persons who reside in marginalized and impoverished circumstances, and/or severe mental illness. The gaps between the haves and the have-nots keeps widening, with competition for services and resources especially fierce.
'Process and Roll' continues the mantra for many, with only sheer exhaustion stopping their activity. Most of us can do anything for the short-term. However, all professionals are reminded of one critical fact: Process and Roll for the long-term will not promote workforce sustainability. Without a sustainable workforce, there will be NO health and behavioral health for those persons who so desperately need it.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has wrought an ever-emerging list of resources encompassing evolving regulations, reimbursement, and knowledge-base about the Coronavirus. Here is an updated list of resources to guide your efforts. Included are URLs for case management and hospital discharge planning regulations; social service and community resources; mental health resources for the workforce, patients, and the public; evolving knowledge sites, plus:
o American College of Physician Advisors: Regulatory, reimbursement, clinical resource information.
o American Psychological Association: Resource and tools for providers and the public
o Association for Addiction Professionals: Resources and information for providers and the public
o CDC site for Stress and Coping: Detailed resource listing for providers and the public
for providers and the public
o Mental Health America: Resources and tools for providers and patients
o Mental Health First Aid: Range of resources and blogs
o National Association of Social Workers: Resources and tools for the workforce
o National Center for PTSD: Provider toolkit
o National Center for PTSD: COVID19 resource center
o National Council of Behavioral Health: Resources and tools for addressing Coronavirus
o National Association of Mental Illness: COVID 19 Resources Guide
o National Institute on Drug Abuse: Resources and guidance on substance use
o PsychHub: COVID 19 Mental Health specific resources
o SAMHSA: COVID19 resource center: Guidance for providers and communities
o Telemental Health Institute: Training and resources for behavioral health providers
o Wellness Society: Coronavirus Anxiety Workbook, Therapy, Self-Help tools
o When Home Becomes the Workplace: Guidance for the remote workforce
o 211.org: Resources for crisis and emergency resources
Additional individual, group therapy and counseling resources:
- SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990, or text TALKWITHUS to 66746.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness: COVID19 online communities to share issues and obtain support.
- Support Group Central: virtual support groups on mental health conditions for free or at low cost, with access in different languages
- Betterhelp: app offering individual, couples, teens counseling, with licensed therapists available via text, video, and audio.
- For Like Minds: online mental health support network for individuals to connect with others experiencing stressful life events.
- Calm and Moodfit: Apps that address mild anxiety or depression, and promote coping.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
- Talkspace: Free online therapy for healthcare professionals
- The Sleep Foundation: Resources on sleep hygiene to address stress (e.g., insomnia, depression, anxiety)
- Therapist Aid: Stress and Anxiety Management Worksheets
- SAMHSA- Behavioral Health Assessment Tools: A range of tools to assess anxiety, stress, depression, trauma
All are welcome to add further resources to this list by posting a comment.
Until next time.......Stay Resilient and Safe
#ProtecttheInterprofessionalWorkforce #interprofessionalimpact #socialdistancing