As the coronavirus crisis continues, the stress and trauma of working directly with the sick has led to reports of suicide bombers at the forefront – a trend that an expert says may be just “the tip of the iceberg”.
Yahoo Life spoke to Dr. Jen Hartstein, Yahoo Life Mental Health Contributor and practicing psychologist, talks about the unique psychological challenges facing frontline workers like doctors, nurses, rescue workers, and others who help keep things going during the coronavirus outbreak.
“It is easy to forget when we all feel overwhelmed and concerned that the front workers take over most of it and feel equally overwhelmed and experience the same trauma – sometimes more – than the rest of us,” says Hartstein.
“Many of the symptoms that they actually show are proportionate to traumatic stress, traumatic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and we need to be clear about how this will change over time,” she says. “When we leave crisis mode, we have to be really present and ready so that these people can support them when they have trouble reintegrating into society and their real lives.”
Hartstein says that not everyone who dies from suicide suffers from a mental illness, which is why we need to pay special attention to the needs of the front workers in our area at this time.
“It is a misunderstanding to think that we need a diagnosis to die from suicide or to really fight PTSD,” said Hartstein.
“When we experience trauma – like many of us and like the people at the front line – our brain chemistry changes, our reaction to the world, and there can be an increased intensity of emotions,” she says. “We really need to keep an eye on these people and be there to support them.”
If you are a front worker who has problems, Hartstein urges you to seek help.
“The first thing you have to do is not to be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to go to a boss, colleague, family member and say, “Hey, I feel overwhelmed and really have problems.” It is a stronger step to ask for help than to suffer silence. says Hartstein.
Available resources include the Crisis Text Line, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and various virtual therapy options.
If you or someone you know have thoughts of suicide, call 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or send HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
For the latest corona virus news and updates, follow at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. Experts say people over 60 and those with weakened immune systems remain the most at risk. If you have any questions, please contact the CDCAnd WHO Resource manuals.
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