Resource provides mental health assistance for those on the front lines in the coronavirus pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS — It’s Mental Health Awareness Month, and experts say doctors and nurses are dealing with heightened levels of fear and anxiety.

We’re nearly three months into a pandemic and those providing help now need it for themselves.

“The people on the front lines that are seeing a lot of stress, death, anguish, and they have their own fears too,” said Dr. Anne Gilbert, medical director on the virtual health team at IU Health.

The Health Hub is a 24/7 call team ready to provide mental assistance for those who work within the IU Health system. 

“We offer psychological first aid, which essentially is understanding where that person is, acknowledging their feelings and then getting then hooked up with whatever they need from there,” said Gilbert. 

You can remain anonymous. After the call they’ll decide if you need further treatment or if you just needed someone to talk to. Doctors say it’s stressful work, in an already stressful time.

“We know front-line healthcare workers, about 50% of them will develop some significant problem with depression, anxiety, or even PTSD,” said Gilbert. 

Those on the front lines say their biggest fears stem from the virus, the health of themselves and their families. 

“What’s interesting and what’s also a little scary during COVID-19 is also the possibility you might get sick,” said John Shepard, a clinical nurse. 

Another fear: workers passing COVID-19 to their loved ones. 

Shepard says there are high demands, especially when caring for patients. But it’s what they do and will continue to do until the end as long as we’re in this together.

“The common humanity is really helpful to me to remember that we’re all really in this together. And in ways that’s kind of beautiful that we’ve got to come together to make it through this and I think we will,” said Shepard.

Doctors and nurses at IU Health have access to these resources online. Non-medical professionals who are also struggling can use the Mental Health America website.

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