Frontline professionals face many challenges in their day-to-day work life. From the pressure of making sure people get the help and care they need to working long shifts — health care and public safety are stressful fields of work.
When you encounter chronic stress, trauma and the negative effects of shiftwork as a part of your daily work life, an added source of stress like COVID-19 can feel overwhelming. With concerns about passing the virus to family and friends, protective equipment shortages, exposure to financial pressures and long hours — you need support now more than ever.
For many frontline professionals, the pandemic has taken a toll on their mental wellness. And if you are struggling, you are not alone. We want you to know that NAMI Greater Houston is here to help.
NAMI is pleased to join the #FirstRespondersFirst initiative to support frontline health care and public safety professionals facing the adverse mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This community-centered initiative is called NAMI Frontline Wellness.
For more information about Frontline Wellness, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org/.
Health Care Professionals
As a frontline health care professional, you experience stress daily. Your job places unique demands on you that are not typical for most, and it can add up over time. The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stressors that may feel overwhelming. NAMI can help.
Public Safety Professionals
Let’s face it: first responders often deal with the unimaginable. Maybe it’s one specific call, maybe it’s a series of them. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to an already difficult and frequently dangerous job. The effects of stress are real and should not be ignored. NAMI can help.
If you are in crisis, there are resources you can turn to. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers free, confidential crisis counseling 24/7/365 — and you don’t have to be in crisis to call 9-8-8
If you don’t want to talk on the phone, you can also text. Crisis Text Line offers free 24/7 mental health support. Text “10-18” or “SCRUBS” to 741741 for help.
Safe Call Now is a confidential, comprehensive, 24-hour crisis referral service for all public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide. Call 1-206-459-3020 or 1-877-230-6060.
You may be hesitant to dial 911 if you or someone you know is in crisis. Because of your job, you may feel that you don’t want someone from your agency or workplace to respond to a call that involves you. Please don’t let this concern prevent you from seeking assistance. Use the resources, make the call or text for help. You have options, and you are not alone.
Know The Warning Signs:
If you are experiencing any of these signs, please don’t wait to find support:
Withdrawal, or self-isolation from friends, family and colleagues
Marked changes in mood, increased sadness
Increased or excessive substance use
Aggressive, impulsive or reckless behavior
Comments or thoughts about suicide
Feelings of being out of control
Difficulty with concentration and usual activities
Issues with sleep
There are many potential risk factors for a mental health crisis or suicide, such as cumulative trauma or being injured on the job. There are also protective factors, such as social support from those who understand, access to confidential services and physical wellness. Reach out for support, check on your peers, check in with friends and family.
The U.S. Marshals Service, Fairfax County (VA) Police Department and Nova Southeastern University (FL), have partnered to launch a nationwide Wellness Survey for all public safety professionals. This voluntary survey will provide important data about the impacts of trauma and the overall mental health of first responders.
The survey is completely anonymous — no personal information is collected, including the IP address. It can be hard to share honest answers to tough questions, but every precaution has been taken to ensure participant anonymity. Survey responses will be used to help identify and develop the best supports for America’s public safety professionals.
It can be difficult to share your story, but it’s important. It reminds everyone that we are all in this together. We are grateful to the frontline professionals who have shared their stories to remind us that we stand stronger when we stand together.
If you are a frontline professional and would like to support your peers by telling your story and offering encouragement, please post your own video on social media and tag @NAMICommunicate with the hashtags #NotAlone and #FirstRespondersFirst.
Watch stories below:
Show a frontline professional that you care by thanking them on social media for their tireless efforts during this difficult time. Please use the hashtags #NotAlone and #FirstRespondersFirst — let’s take care of our frontline professionals, so they can take care of us.
Help spread awareness by downloading images to share on social media.
NAMI Blogs are resources for people who are interested in mental health. We feature the latest research, stories of recovery, ways to end stigma and strategies for living well. Most importantly: We feature your voices.