In this piece for the Richmond Academy of Medicine, Dr. Wendy Dean warns of a looming mental health crisis for the physicians on the front lines of COVID-19. Entitled COVID curve 1.5: a brewing crisis of clinician mental health, Dr. Dean addresses hero-worship and the stigma facing physicians for seeking support.
Dr. Wendy Dean was invited to testify at the New York City June 16, 2020 City Council hearing. During this testimony, she shared that a “culture of self-sacrifice” stops medical staff from seeking help for mental-health issues in the first place.
“There’s a habit of many in health-care to minimize their own needs in the face of greater suffering by patients and families,” Dr. Dean said.
Other testimonies included physicians from Bellevue Hospital and others. A summary article from The Chief Leader can be found below, or a full video of the City Council meeting via the NYC City Counsel website also linked below.
Health care providers face a rising mental and emotional toll amid the pandemic. Peer support programs can alleviate internal burdens and create a spirit of shared empathy.
The intense decisions clinicians have to make during the pandemic don’t just cause burnout. They cause moral injury. Hosted by Arielle Duhaime-Ross (@adrs), host and lead reporter of Reset.
Jen Schwartz (@JenLSchwartz)
Wendy Dean (@wendydeanMD)
Listen on Apple Podcasts in the link below.
The recent suicides of healthcare workers on the front lines highlight a potential second disaster in the making. Psychiatrist Wendy Dean is an expert on Moral Injury and talks about real solutions.
Dr. Wendy Dean was the featured mental health expert on MSNBC’s Live with Joshua Johnson on May 2, 2020. She first defines moral injury and then goes on to discuss the impossibly difficult decisions and conditions clinicians are working under during the coronavirus pandemic. She goes on to caution about calling healthcare workers heroes, because there will come a time when those heroes need to be human and process the trauma they have undergone during this time.
Hero worship alone doesn’t protect frontline clinicians from distress. Dr. Wendy Dean is interviewed on the role of psychological trauma and the role it will play in the coming weeks and months as healthcare continues to reckon with the coronavirus pandemic.
Medical Workers Fighting COVID-19 Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis. If healthcare workers can’t provide the care they typically believe is medically necessary for their patients, they may experience a phenomenon known as “moral injury,” says Dr. Wendy Dean, a psychiatrist and the co-founder of the nonprofit Moral Injury of Healthcare.
Moral injury is also coming to the forefront as physicians consider rationing scarce resources with too little guidance. Which surgeries truly justify use of increasingly scarce PPE? A cardiac valve replacement? A lumpectomy? Repairing a torn ligament? Dr. Dean explores these questions in the latest piece for Medscape entitled: COVID-19 Is Making Moral Injury to Physicians Much Worse.