Tips for Physician Mental Health During COVID-19

By the Missouri Physicians Health Program

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(Adapted from the American Medical Association website)

During a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is common for everyone to feel increased levels of distress and anxiety, particularly as a result of social isolation. Physicians and other frontline health care professionals are vulnerable to negative mental health effects as they strive to balance the duty of caring for patients against personal concerns about their own well-being and that of their family and friends. Use the following strategies to manage your own mental well-being while also caring for patients during the pandemic.

  1. Take care of yourself. Attending to your mental health and psychosocial well-being while caring for patients is as important as managing your physical health. Try practicing meditation, mindfulness and yoga daily.
  2. Intentionally employ coping strategies. This could include getting enough rest and finding respite time during work or between shifts, eating healthy meals, engaging in physical activity and staying in contact with family and friends.
  3. Perform regular check-ins with yourself. Monitor yourself for symptoms of depression/stress disorder such as prolonged sadness, difficulty sleeping, intrusive memories and feelings of hopelessness.
  4. Take breaks from social media and news. Make a regular habit of stepping away from your computer and smart phone.
  5. Feel fulfilled by remembering the importance of your work. Despite the current challenges, your work is a noble calling.

If you are struggling and need help, please do not hesitate to call the Missouri Physicians Health Program, (314) 578- 9574. In Kansas, contact the KMS Professionals’ Health Program at (785) 231-1304, cwestgate@kmsonline.org.