Day 18: Frontline & Essential Personnel

You are our modern-day heroes carrying on with your work every day and interfacing with the public, including, obviously, those seriously ill because of coronavirus. Your juggling act of professional, home, and self-care has stressors beyond what most of us even want to imagine. While this list of resources is far from exhaustive, it is intended as both an immediate aid to the specific difficulties you're facing, as well as a note of acknowledgement and gratitude for the sacrifices you are making. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you are doing to keep us all safe and healthy.

Put your own mask on first, literally and figuratively. A great deal of organizing has been happening by nonprofits and those in the mental health profession to ensure frontline staff receive needed support to address stress and trauma:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health identifies both emergency and supportive service options for those experiencing stress and trauma due to Covid-19 on their website under the heading Mental Health Crisis. That list includes the following:

  • Contact your behavioral health provider to see if they can schedule a telehealth visit. Telehealth is a virtual therapy session. Many providers are now offering this option.

  • Contact Samaritans 24/7. Call or text our 24/7 helpline any time at 1-877-870-4673.

  • Contact Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741

  • Visit the new Massachusetts Network of Care website to locate behavioral health resources in your area.

  • Contact SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline. The Helpline provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

  • Contact the Massachusetts Emergency Services Program/Mobile Crisis Intervention (ESP/MCI) - 1-877-382-1609 (read more about this program)

How non-essential and non-frontline individuals interact with those who are also matters A LOT. These tips are not limited to those in MA, obviously; however, the Department of Public Health and my local Wellesley Health Department are predicting that April 10-22 will be peak time for COVID-19 infections in the Commonwealth. The case counts are expected to rise dramatically in the coming days. To slow the spread of the virus and help save lives, please take personal responsibility and remember these important guidelines. That said, I encourage everyone to abide by these guidelines.

  • ·      Stay home as much as possible

  • ·      If you must go out, limit trips only the grocery store and other essential errands

  • ·      Practice social and physical distancing

  • ·      Wear masks when out in public

  • ·      Continue to wash hands often/use hand sanitizer

  • ·      Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow

  • ·      Parents should make sure children and friends stay separated (no gatherings in in public areas or private homes, at beaches or on fields, don’t play sports/socialize with anyone other than family)

  • ·      Be considerate of workers who are doing their jobs and performing essential services, including patience, physical distancing of at least 6 feet, and respect for the new rules in grocery stores and pharmacies.

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