Supporting Mental Health and Psychological Resilience Among the Health Care Workforce: Gaps in the Evidence and Urgency for Action
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, health care workers have faced various challenges to their mental health due to extreme working conditions. Yet these workers have continued to deliver care in the face of stressors and death among their patients, family, and social networks. The pandemic highlighted weaknesses within our health care work environment, especially pertaining to a need to provide increased psychological resilience to clinicians. There has been little research to determine the best practices for psychological health in workplaces and interventions to improve psychological resilience. Although some studies have attempted to provide solutions, there are noteworthy gaps in the literature on effective interventions to use in the time of crisis. The most common include an absence of preintervention data concerning the overall mental well-being of health care workers, inconsistent application of interventions, and a lack of standard assessment tools across studies. There is an urgent need for system-level strategies that not only transform the way workplaces are organized, but also destigmatize, recognize, support, and treat mental health conditions among health care workers. There is also need for more evidence-based resources to improve resilience on the job, and thereby increase clinicians’ capacity to address new medical crises. Doing so may mitigate rates of burnout and other psychological conditions in times of crisis among health care workers.