COVID-19 & Mental Health: Augusta University Health creates mental health pods for staff

Coronavirus

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Everyone is feeling some level of stress due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has even taken a toll on healthcare workers in the CSRA.

“You work here during the midst of this, and you work around people who understand the seriousness of the virus,” said Rev. Jeffery Flowers. “Then you go home or out to the public, and you hear people say that it is not that bad, people are not taking precautions, or down they are downplaying it. That tension is weighing down on us as healthcare workers.”

A group of chaplains at Augusta University Health are helping health care workers with the highs and lows of the pandemic. They created two mental health pods for employees to free their minds from the stress of the pandemic.

“I think the biggest thing we can offer is a place where they will not be attacked from the outside,” said Douglas Pryor. “They aren’t going to be harassed by data that is bogus.”

Rev. Flowers and his team of chaplains say they saw a need for the pods a year ago. Now they believe the demand for those pods is going to be high in the fall.

“We’re looking at the impact of how this is helping our healthcare workers go back to their units,” explained Louella Simmons. “So they can see the importance the help is going to come, so we can expand what we are doing.”

A new study finds healthcare workers in the United States are struggling with mental health during the pandemic. The study found that healthcare workers are at higher risk than the general public of experiencing health problems such as depression. Rev. Flowers says the lax response of deaths of the virus weighs the heaviest.

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