Mental Health Pros Volunteer To Help Frontline Coronavirus Workers
Worried about the psychological toll the pandemic is taking on doctors, nurses, paramedics and other first responders, mental health groups are spearheading an effort to get them pro bono help.
Frontline workers are “really good at handling emergencies,” said Randall Hagar, legislative advocate with the California Psychiatric Association. “And they just suck it up and do what they gotta do and it’s only later that the accumulated stress finally manifests.”
Hagar’s organization and other professional groups banded together to set up a volunteer registry that seeks to put frontline workers in contact with professionals offering pro bono mental health services. Participants are asked to provide at least two hours of care at no cost, although some are offering much more.
Hagar says the registry is a way of streamlining frontline workers’ access to mental health care since there hasn’t been a concerted effort from the state.
The call for volunteers has gone out to all licensed mental health professionals, from psychiatrists to counselors to social workers. Hagar says the response has been impressive; so far, about 1,500 people have volunteered.