The MNA recognizes the toll the COVID-19 crisis is taking on nurses and healthcare professionals both personally and professionally. The seemingly insurmountable obstacles that you encounter at work affect your mental health, your physical health, and your emotional health. We also know, as do you, that it will likely be a very long time before we return to our “normal” lives. Nobody should be expected to pack all that away each day and ignore their own well-being.
With that reality in mind, we have created and collected a variety of tools and resources that you can use to help take care of yourself.
Nurses Pause with Pam
Are you running on empty? The pandemic has continued to deplete our reserves of resilience due to extra demands in our work and home environments, leaving us physically and emotionally exhausted. Developed by Pam Ressler, MS, RN, an internationally recognized expert on resilience and mindfulness (founder of Stress Resources and host of the Raising Resilience podcast),
“Nurses Pause with Pam” will help to begin to refuel and refill your resilience through quick, on-demand, evidence based recorded meditation and mindfulness exercises. These are designed specifically for nurses and can be used any time of the day or night, allowing nurses to pause and take care of themselves while caring for others. Here is a preview of the upcoming Nurses Pause with Pam audio series (each recording includes two meditations, approximately 7-8 min each):
- Step Away to Step In (mp3)
- Stilness Meditation (mp3)
- Gratitude Meditation (mp3)
- Loving Kindness Meditation (mp3)
- Mindful Movement Meditation (mp3)
- Compassion Meditation (mp3)
To access, use the password “mna” after visiting https://www.stressresources.com/nurses-pause-with-pam
Crisis Counseling & Groups on Coping with Grief & Loss
If you are feeling tired, frustrated, detached, helpless, etc., processing these feelings can help you to reclaim a sense of control. MassSupport Network provides free and confidential services throughout Massachusetts in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis. This Crisis Counseling Program is funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and managed in partnership between the Department of Mental Health and Riverside Trauma Center, a program of Riverside Community Care.
The free, anonymous and confidential programs (available for MNA members and their families), delivered either telephonically or via the web, feature:
- Individual counseling: provides support and a bridge to mental health & other resources – when needed (one to three sessions)
- Coping group: facilitates self-awareness, sharing, psychoeducation and coping strategies (single session)
- Grief & Loss group: focuses on reactions to losses rather than reliving them, learning about grief and proactive ways of processing grief (single session)
Looking For Self-Care Motivation? Join Wishroute’s FREE Staying Mindful, Moving, and Motivated Program For Self-Care Inspiration and Support Through the Challenges of the Pandemic
Wishroute is a text message-based wellness accountability service. Start your day with an inspirational, healthy tip and end your day with a check-in from the Wishroute team (not bots!) who will help you stay encouraged and motivated. It only takes a few minutes a day to prioritize self-care in a way that works for you, and Wishroute will keep it fun with surprise rewards. Wishroute is offering our members a free, 90-day subscription. Sign up for Wishroute MNA at https://www.wishroute.com/mna.
Free, Confidential Psychological Support Services for MNA Members from the Clinicians at Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders
Clinicians at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD) at Boston University, a world-renowned anxiety and mood specialty clinic, are volunteering their time to provide emotional support to nurses during this challenging time. We have licensed staff and supervised doctoral students offering free, confidential psychological support services to assist you with emotional responses to the COVID crisis. If you are struggling with any of the following please consider making use of CARD’s services:
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty regulating your emotions
- Feeling irritable, anxious, tearful, or demoralized
- Losing stamina, patience, or compassion for your patients
- Feeling isolated, unsupported or angry
- Trouble concentrating
RNs and HCPs are incredibly resilient, and all of these reactions are understandable and expected under the current circumstances. If you would like some support in maintaining your resilience, consider contacting us. We are offering care for our caretakers. If interested, you can sign up for one of the available 30-minute time slots at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A0B45A9AC2CA3FE3-skills
Please note: This is brief psychological support, which is different from therapy. If you are seeking therapy, we also offer telehealth remotely. Feel free to call CARD at 617-353-9610 or visit our website at www.bu.edu/card.
Introducing Massachusetts Network of Care: A Comprehensive Behavioral Health Directory & the “CALL2Talk” Hotline
This new online resource provides a comprehensive, searchable directory to help Massachusetts residents find information on behavioral health services and treatment in their communities. Network of Care Massachusetts includes a directory of over 5,000 programs and organizations across the Commonwealth, searchable by keyword and zip code. For each listing, users can find a program description and contact information, as well as information on populations served, relevant eligibility, fee information, and more. Learn more at www.massachusetts.networkofcare.org.
Let Network of Care Massachusetts help you take the first step in locating mental health, substance use, and related social services in your community to support good health and recovery.
Also available through the newly launched resource: “CALL2Talk Hotline,” which is accessible by dialing 2-1-1. If you, or someone you care about, is feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness or anxiety, or if you feel like you want to harm yourself or others, reach out to “CALL2Talk” by dialing 2-1-1.
The “Helping Nurses Referral List”
The “Helping Nurses Referral List” was started by therapist Katie Lynch, LICSW who listened to the needs of her nurse friends and colleagues and wanted to find a way to support nurses facing traumatic stress during and after the pandemic that is easily accessible.
- Confidential, professional support available to nurses currently working in some capacity with those directly impacted by COVID-19.
- Composed of over 100 independently licensed, mental health professionals from 8 states (most in Massachusetts; others include NY, NH, ME, MD, CA, TX & WA) who have committed to providing short term, pro-bono therapy via telehealth to any nurse who is in need of mental health support.
- Services will come with no cost and require no insurance information.
Interested in receiving a referral to a therapist ready to help? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive an return email stating someone will connect with you within 48 hours (we have had very prompt return responses). Once you reach out for a referral, you will be given the name and contact information of a mental health professional on the Helping Nurses Referral List. It will then be your responsibility to contact the mental health provider to set up a session that is convenient for you.
Mindfulness and Meditation
The MNA is providing the following meditation resources to help you gain a sense of calm and momentary relaxation whenever you need it most, day or night. You can access these resources, anywhere and anytime, simply by clicking here.
Also available, “Cultivating Mindfulness at this Critical Moment.” Join Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, Founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, for his livestream mindfulness sessions every weekday at 2 p.m. You can sign up to watch them live, or access previous sessions on the following link: www.wisdom2summit.com/live
The Mindful Healthcare Speaker Series
Mindful.org recently hosted free live video sessions, specifically for healthcare professionals, as part of The Mindful Healthcare Speaker Series. These presentations were recorded and can be accessed at https://www.mindfulhealthcaresummit.com/mhss-watch/
Journaling: Written or Digital
Journaling generally involves the practice of keeping a record that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life. There are several different ways to do this. Journaling, as a stress management and self-exploration tool, works best when done consistently, but even occasional, sporadic journaling can be stress relieving when the practice is focused on gratitude or emotional processing (from verywellMind.com).
The MNA encourages members to document, either through written or recorded journaling, what they are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Interested in sharing your video journal entries and potentially having them posted on our Facebook page or our COVID-19 page for others to see? Email them to Erin Servaes at email@example.com. Be assured, nothing will be posted or shared without your final review and approval.
Resources of Resilience for Nurses: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, by Suzanne M. Slattery, Ph.D., and Claire Slattery
Traumatic stress involves both mind and body responses. It is our natural and healthy way of coping with extreme stress and overwhelming feelings. Right now, nurses and other healthcare professionals are experiencing acute and post-traumatic stress from working with patients who are critically ill, becoming permanently disabled and dying. This guide highlights dozens of resources that nurses can rely on in order to stay safe and healthy on all fronts: mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Help for Nurses with Substance Use Disorders
The Massachusetts Nurses Association Volunteer Peer Assistance Program is a network of nurses who are in recovery reaching out to other nurses whose life, health, and/or profession are affected by alcohol and/or other drugs.
- Are you a nurse who is using alcohol or other drugs to cope with everyday stress?
- Are you a nurse who is self-prescribing medications for pain, stress or anxiety?
- Would you appreciate the aid of a nurse who understands recovery and wants to help?
If any of the above applies to you, we can offer hope, and help: www.peerassistance.com