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Public Health School Initiative to Focus on Healthcare Workers' Mental Health

A new Harvard School of Public Health initiative will focus on the mental health of healthcare workers addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a Monday press release.
A new Harvard School of Public Health initiative will focus on the mental health of healthcare workers addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a Monday press release. By Megan M. Ross
By Simon J. Levien, Crimson Staff Writer

A new Harvard School of Public Health initiative will focus on the mental health of healthcare workers addressing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a Monday press release.

The program — Health and Wellness For All — will begin with an online pilot to address stress and anxiety, which can lead to burnout and attrition among public health professionals, according to the press release.

Thrive Global, a technology startup founded by Arianna S. Huffington, is collaborating with the School of Public Health to develop the content, coaching, and workshops involved in the online pilot program.

“Our global response to this pandemic is dependent on safeguarding the health of those on the front lines of the crisis,” Huffington stated in the press release. “The rest of us can isolate ourselves — our public health workers can’t.”

Participants will complete “Microsteps” geared toward incremental improvements in overall wellbeing, such as a greater focus on relationships and stress management.

Sixteen Massachusetts organizations — including the MGH Institute of Health Professions, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, and Partners in Health — will pilot the program to a group of healthcare workers.

After the pilot iteration, organizers will distribute a reworked program to academic collaborators, including other School of Public Health affiliates, and eventually to the healthcare workforce at large.

Beginning Wednesday, the School of Public also launched a series of weekly online forums on mental health and coping strategies in the face of the outbreak.

Dean of the School of Public Health Michelle A. Williams stated in the press release that she believes it is paramount to manage the well-being of healthcare workers in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“As leaders in public health, it is our responsibility to find the solution for how we can better care for our caregivers,” Williams said.

CORRECTION: March 23, 2020

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the name of a participating organization in the healthcare workers program. It is the MGH Institute of Health Professions, not the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Health Professions.

—Staff writer Simon J. Levien can be reached at simon.levien@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @simonjlevien.

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HealthSchool of Public HealthMental HealthUniversity

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