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Hospital heroes: Mental health in the pandemic

March 22, 2021 | Healthy Communities News

This pandemic year has been filled with loss and grief and anxiety for all of us. But, perhaps, no group has had more to process than our essential health care workers. While the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic saw daily public displays of appreciation for caregivers, in private, many of them were still suffering. Which is why a national nonprofit called Give an Hour has stepped up to help these hospital heroes.

Give an Hour had already been providing free mental health services to veterans, service members, and their families for 15 years. Seeing a clear need, CEO Randy Phelps decided they had to expand their mission:


“I said to my board of directors at the outset, I would like to open up our services to a new group of heroes in this country. And that's the nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, and other essential hospital workers who are caring for people with COVID and dealing with unbelievable trauma.”


Give an Hour was able to extend its free services to hospital-based essential employees, and their loved ones, thanks to a contribution from Aetna, a CVS Health company.

In the latest podcast episode — see the links below or search Healthy Communities News wherever you listen to podcasts — we speak in even greater detail with Randy Phelps, as well as Dr. Jonathan Wiesen, a pulmonary physician and critical care specialist who runs COVID-19 emergency rooms. And psychiatrist Dr. Laura Ebner, who had already been volunteering for Give an Hour for years, but couldn’t resist helping these new, often neglected heroes, “If [COVID-19] has taught us anything, it’s that we all have to practice self-care, and that mental health affects us all.”