Addressing Postpandemic Clinician Mental Health

Rachel Schwartz, PhD, Jina L. Sinskey, MD, Uma Anand, PhD, LP, and Rebecca D. Margolis, DO
Submitted: August, 2020

Previous pandemics have seen high psychiatric morbidity among health care workers. Protecting clinician mental health in the aftermath of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) requires an evidence-based approach to developing and deploying comprehensive clinician mental health support. In a narrative review of 96 articles addressing clinician mental health in COVID-19 and prior pandemics, 7 themes emerged: 1) the need for resilience and stress reduction training; 2) providing for clinicians’ basic needs (food, drink, adequate rest, quarantine-appropriate housing, transportation, child care, personal protective equipment); 3) the importance of specialized training for pandemic-induced changes in job roles; 4) recognition and clear communication from leadership; 5) acknowledgment of and strategies for addressing moral injury; 6) the need for peer and social support interventions; and 7) normalization and provision of mental health support programs. The COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges that surpass those of previous pandemics, suggesting a significant mental health toll on clinicians. To mitigate the known psychological costs of providing care during a pandemic and recovering from associated experiences, comprehensive institutional and societal infrastructure for clinician well-being is needed, especially as we enter this unprecedented