Back from a recent Medical Press Conference – Chair of the Physicians Advisory Group – Dr. Nathaniel Berg raised concern about healthcare workers’ mental health on the front lines since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
PNC’s Don Sulat has more on this story.
As most of the island, together with most of the world, recovers from the pandemic, Dr. Berg is calling upon the community to check in on the mental health of front-line health care workers.
According to Dr. Berg, the concerns were raised during a recent medical conference that he recently attended. He said that most of the front-line medical workers active in the field during the early parts of the pandemic saw the stress not at work but rather at home.
He adds and quote, “The concern is that all those people in the Intensive Care Unit caring for so many sick and dying people are going to start to face difficulty getting back into the non-COVID life.”
The Physician Advisory Chair further reported on the medical strain that medical professionals sustained when dealing with family members during the early stages of COVID. Such as the delicate task of helping family members say goodbye to loved ones.
Dr. Berg adds, “It doesn’t take much imagination to think of the emotional impact that having a younger nurse or even an experienced doctor in an ICU holding an Ipad towards a family member who’s saying goodbye as they die in the ICU.”
Moreover, Dr. Berg says that one of the ways the community can help elevate the mental health of those front-line workers is as simple as thanking them when they get a chance.
Furthermore, the PAG Chair also talked about the disparity that some medical fields faced during the pandemic. And would like to remind those in the medical community that help is available.
In addition Dr. Berg Stated, “So mental health, along with the Guam Board of Medical Examiners and the Guam Board of Nursing, are working really quickly to reach out to people before it’s too late. And we don’t want to lose a single healthcare provider to suicide. I’m going to be blunt about it, it’s suicide that I worry most about. And I want people to know, A we appreciate them, and we know the difficulty that they’ve had, we’ll learn more about that. That it’s really critical to reach out for help and you’re not alone, you’re not suffering and saying ‘why am I alone?’ it’s not true. So many people in the front line are suffering.”
As for any medical professionals’ concerns about reporting any mental health issues associated with the pandemic affecting their career, Dr. Berg stressed that they do not have to worry as it is not required for the treatment to be reported to the board.
Dr. Berg States and quoted, “We look at it as a board, it’s our job to encourage the people to seek help. And for the community to look out if your husband or wife is a nurse, a doctor, a medical assistant…even the people who do the administrative work…they saw it and so it wouldn’t hurt to say, ‘How are you doing?’.”
Reporting for the Pacific News Center
I’m Don Sulat