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Trusted Launches Mental Health Resource Center

May 4, 2020
The Trusted Team

Burnout in nursing is nothing new, while mental health support, or the lack thereof, has been an increasingly popular topic in healthcare circles. Prior to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, burnout rates among nurses were already rising more quickly than ever before. Some studies estimate that up to 63 percent of nurses exhibit symptoms such as job-induced stress, anxiety, and depression. 

The stresses of COVID-19 have only worsened these issues, as nurses and other frontline responders find themselves susceptible to higher-than-ever volumes of critically ill patients, with less than adequate PPE, and ultimately dealing with issues of moral distress.

A New Focus On Mental Health 

To help address this issue, and as part of our nurses-first mission, Trusted has launched a new Mental Health Resource Center focused on supporting the mental health and well-being of our nurses. In the center, you’ll find: 

  • A variety of resources, content and other materials on recognizing and addressing burnout, depression and other job-related stress
  • Links to a series on burnout from Trusted’s podcast, The Handoff
  • Information about our emotional support line and mental wellness program in partnership with The Ohio State University College of Nursing (OSU)
  • The full results of our Frontline Nurse Mental Health & Well-being Study
  • Information about special offers on mental health and wellness apps just for nurses 

The resource center follows the launch of our recent partnership with OSU on a first-of-its-kind, nurses-for-nurses initiative that provides any nurse working on an active assignment with Trusted access to an emotional support line and ongoing wellness partnership program. 

Survey Results: Mental Health & Well-Being Among Nurses

Along with both of these initiatives, and to further spread awareness of the challenges that nurses and other healthcare workers face today -- and particularly in light of COVID-19 -- we’re also releasing the results of a survey we recently conducted. We received more than 1,400 responses to our survey, two-thirds of which were from nurses who have or are currently providing direct care to COVID-19 patients. 

Here are some of the key findings:

Nurses’ mental health and well-being have declined significantly since COVID-19 began. 

On a scale of 1-10, nurses rated their current mental health and well-being an average of 5.4, compared to an average of 7.6 prior to the COVID-19 crisis, representing a decline of nearly 30 percent. 

trusted health mental health survey graph nurses’ mental health and well-being have declined significantly since COVID-19 began
Graph 1: Nurses’ mental health and well-being have declined significantly since COVID-19 began.
 
Nurses don’t feel that their health and well-being are being prioritized or supported.

On a scale of 1-10, nurses rated their current facility an average of 4.8 in terms of the support it has provided related to their mental health and well-being. The rating with the highest percentage of responses was 1. 

trusted health mental health survey graph nurses don’t feel that their health and well-being are being prioritized or supported
Graph 2: Nurses don’t feel that their health and well-being are being prioritized or supported.
Nurses also report feeling unsupported at a systemic level. 

Nurses also report feeling unsupported at a systemic level. When asked how they think that the healthcare industry prioritizes and supports nurses’ mental health and well-being, nearly 95 percent of nurses said they felt that it was either not a priority or that it was a priority, but that there were inadequate measures in place to support it. 

trusted health mental health survey graph nurses also report feeling unsupported at a systemic level
Graph 3: Nurses also report feeling unsupported at a systemic level. 
Despite these findings, most nurses remain committed to the profession.

The vast majority of respondents (79 percent) said that the COVID-19 crisis has not impacted their career plans, and they remain as, or even more, committed to nursing than they were previously.

trusted health mental health survey graph despite these findings, most nurses remain committed to the profession
Graph 4: Despite these findings, most nurses remain committed to the profession.

How Are We Changing This?

Our goal in releasing this survey is to capitalize on this moment and channel the attention that has been paid to healthcare workers in recent weeks into awareness of these issues so that we can find meaningful, long-term solutions. In addition to the survey findings, we’ve also released a series of recommendations to hospitals and healthcare leaders about the ways they can better support nurses. 

Our belief is that large-scale structural changes that take the burden off of the individual are needed to effectively tackle this issue. No amount of gym discounts or healthy snacks can compensate if nurses are working excessively long hours, have unsustainable patient assignments, or aren’t able to take a break during the day. 

We also believe that nurses need specialized support programs tailored to their needs. Providing patient care comes with a unique set of stressors that requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach. While Employee Assistance Programs provide basic counseling that is sufficient for some needs, nurses who are working in high-stress units like the ICU or ED often require more comprehensive support, like that offered through our partnership with OSU.

And lastly, we believe that we need to change the way we educate nurses. The nursing profession suffers from a massive academic-practice gap. Newly licensed RNs often find that their schooling hasn’t prepared them for the structural realities of being a nurse, and one-third ultimately leave their first post within two years

We’re big proponents of integrating skills building around wellness and stress management into the curriculum for undergraduate and graduate programs, which can then be built upon through relevant content around mental health and well-being offered via Continuing Education Units (CEUs). 

Parting Thoughts and Next Steps

COVID-19 has highlighted what Trusted has always known: nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system, and we must do more to support them. At this moment, when the eyes of the world are on our healthcare workers, we have a choice to make about the legacy of this pandemic. 

Our hope is that we can use this as a catalyst to come together to find sustainable solutions to address these pressing issues. The entire team at Trusted is more committed than ever to support the individuals who consistently risk their own well-being to protect ours. 

You can find the Mental Health Resource Center here.