Effects of Covid-19 on Healthcare Providers: Opportunities for Education and Support (ECHOES)
COVID‑19 has unsettled daily life for everyone, including healthcare providers, who already experience high stress, anxiety, and depression in their workplaces. Mental healthcare providers are known to especially be at high risk. This project will address a community mental health challenge at Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, one of few high-secure psychiatric hospitals in Canada. Healthcare workers at Waypoint provide care for some of the most vulnerable, treatment-resistant patients in Canada. As pandemic restrictions ease and care providers return to work in “the new normal”, COVID-19-related impacts of stress, anxiety, and depression may likely continue and effect the delivery of mental health care, only to be exacerbated in the event of future pandemic restrictions with new outbreaks. To date, lessons learned from COVID‑19 include the importance of self-care, support, and the need to strengthen the health system. Our research on the return-to-work experience of mental healthcare providers will be crucial for effective development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to support healthcare workers during the pandemic recovery period. The first component of our research involves individual interviews, focus groups, and surveys to understand the experiences and needs of mental healthcare providers from COVID‑19 pandemic restrictions (e.g., social isolation, work- and home-life restructuring) as they return to work with fewer restrictions. Secondly, we will develop education and support tools for mental healthcare providers to help them build awareness and resiliency, and improve teamwork so these essential workers may continue to deliver quality mental health care during pandemic recovery. It is critical to understand mental health challenges that arise from the COVID‑19 pandemic so we may strengthen our health system and meet the needs of vulnerable and diverse populations, including essential care workers.