The full list of guidance documents DMH is producing for providers is below. But first, we'd like to focus on you, the provider.
Coping with Stress
An outbreak of any significant scale affects the mental health of the helpers as much as, and in specific ways, more than that of the public. The scale of the Coronavirus pandemic is testing most of us to a degree we have never before experienced. In addition to the stress of your daily work, during which you may have to make difficult decisions about the care you can provide, you may be worried about your own health, or that of a family member or close friend. So just as healthcare providers suggest their patients take certain steps to take care of themselves, providers also need to take care to reduce stress, avoid burnout and stay well.
Tips for coping with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak
The pressure to always be working is immense, but to stay healthy, it is critically important to do some things every day.
- Stay connected to others. Send a friendly text or respond to a text with care. As tired as you are at the end of your shift, call a friend or family member. The call can be brief - the important point is to stay in touch with others.
- Offer and accept support from others.
- Take mini-breaks - look outside, or even go outside and take a few deep breaths. Sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Even a minute will make a difference.
- Move your body! Walking, running, yoga, biking - whatever you enjoy most and can do regularly. Mix it up - bike one day, walk the next.
- Maintain regular sleep patterns and healthy eating. Avoid sugar and be careful with caffeine. If you drink alcohol, be careful that it doesn't become your stress reliever.
- Limit exposure to distressing media
- Connect to your sense of purpose- remember why you're in your chosen profession. Think about how much you are helping others.
- Seek help from a professional if you experience symptoms of significant stress or anxiety.
For more on how healthcare providers can take care of themselves, check out the resources below.
- Guide to COVID-19 Mental Health Resources for Health Care Providers (Mass. General)
- Free Resources to Explore for Employment-Education-Learning (April 2020)
- Coronavirus and Mental Health: Taking Care of Ourselves During Infectious Disease Outbreaks (American Psychiatric Association)
- Caring for yourself and others During COVID-19 (Webinar from Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare)
TECHNICAL GUIDANCE FROM DMH FOR PROVIDERS
- Updated FAQ and Guidance from DMH for Designated Agencies (November 2020)
- Home Based Service Delivery Guidance (May 15)
- COVID-19 Child Restraint Guidance (June 30)
- School Based Mental Health during COVID (April 29)
- COVID-19 Hospital Discharge Guidance - Vermont Department of Health (April 10)
- Critical Incident Reporting Requirements for Designated Agencies: Addendum (April 2)
- Guidance for Residential Programs serving Children and Youth (March 27)
- COVID-19 Success Beyond Six Guidance (March 26)
- Medical Clearance Guidance (March 23)
- New Medicaid Billing Codes, changes in BCBS billing, new HHS/OCR Guidance on use of telehealth and HIPAA Requirements (March 19)
- Recommended Precautions for Caregivers (March 19)
- Home-Based Service Delivery Guidance from the Vermont Department of Health (March 19)
- Fact Sheets for Providers, Families, Leaders, from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (March 13)
- Coronavirus Letter to the DAs (March 4)
- Telehealth Learning and Consultation Tuesdays weekly series for providers who are unfamiliar with telehealth