Mental health training coming to health care workers across the city

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The Blue Angels and F-16’s flew over hospitals throughout the city to honor health care professionals for their work with Covid-19 patients. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

First Lady Chirlane McCray announced on Wednesday that New York City’s public hospital system will partner with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Greater New York Hospital Association to provide health care workers and first responders on the front line of the novel coronavirus pandemic with mental health training to help cope with stress. 

“Our city’s medical professionals are laboring long days and nights under extraordinary circumstances, caring for our families and loved ones. It’s a different kind of war, but they are truly soldiers,” said First Lady McCray in a statement. “As they continue caring for New Yorkers, we must care for them and their well-being. Their service goes beyond anything we could have asked for, and their mental health needs should not be overlooked. This partnership will ensure our healthcare workers on the frontlines have the support they need, now and after this crisis.”

The program uses elements of the US DOD’s combat stress management and resiliency program for military personnel along with needs assessments and webinar training videos to be used in healthcare and first responder settings across the city. The training sessions will be implemented by the end of April, according to the mayor’s office. 

Behavioral health and staff support leaders at local hospitals will receive formal training from military subject matter experts. Those who receive training will facilitate training to mental health specialists, spiritual care and second victim program leads at their respective health care systems. The ‘Train the Trainer’ education will be available virtually on GHNYA hosted webinars for all participating NYC healthcare systems. To better support health care workers, in-person and virtual training sessions can be customized based on targeted needs assessments.