#63 Coping with the Accumulative Effect of the COVID Pandemic, Racial Injustice and Social Unrest with Heather Graham
In this episode we interview Heather Graham. Heather is a licensed clinical social worker, an expert in mental health in the workplace, and certified employee assistance professional.
During our interview with Heather we explore the complexities of what we are experiencing currently with the COVID-19 pandemic, social unrest and racial injustices.
Heather reminds us that we are experiencing more than just the pandemic and the uncertainty associated with it but also it’s been an unusual and unexpected year of social unrest, racial injustice, and catastrophic fires. In addition, it’s an election year in the United States, which naturally includes a lot of debate and decisiveness.
Heather points out that many of the reasons this is such a difficult time is that our standard ways of coping with stress including social interaction, sporting events, movies, going out, or our ways of distracting ourselves aren’t available to us.
This is challenging because we must find new ways of coping or dealing with the fear and anxiety of the unknown or lack of a sense of safety at a time when we are under tremendous stress.
Another point Heather brings out is there is “no escape” from the pandemic, and we discuss the impact this has on all of us. No matter where you go you can’t forget about it. It’s an unseen presence in our lives and communities and seeing masks everywhere we go is a constant reminder.
In the interview Heather also conveys her thoughts and reflections on the potential for a parallel pandemic because of the trauma, overwhelm, burnout, and moral distress being experienced by the frontline clinicians.
We discuss the importance of taking care of the healthcare workers. As Heather says, “they have to be 100% to give 100%”.
We talk about the risks of healthcare clinicians developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and how PTSD can develop because of multiple exposures to trauma.
We close the interview with conversation around what healthcare executives can do to create a supportive workplace culture during this time.
This is a very enlightening and informative interview, but you’ll find that out when you listen!
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