Patrick Bordnick, dean of the Tulane University School of Social Work, is available to speak about the mental health challenges facing doctors, nurses and others on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mental health challenges abound for those on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, particularly doctors, nurses and other first responders who are not only working longer hours but are also fearful that they could bring the virus home to their families, or get sick themselves.
Patrick Bordnick, dean of the Tulane University School of Social Work, says that while everyone is dealing with stress these days, it is vitally important that health care workers practice self-care.
Self-care, says Bordnick, means taking a few minutes for yourself, be it going for a walk, meditating or doing something fun that at least for a brief time takes your mind off the daily stress of the COVID-19 crisis.
“For anyone in the helping professions, our jobs are helping other people,” Bordnick said. “People are coming to us at the most critical and stressful time of their lives. In taking on and dealing with other people’s problems, we often neglect our own.
“And as professionals it becomes critically important, even without crisis, to take time for ourselves, to nurture our own bodies and mental health and find a way to get away from that.”
Taking that time could be as simple as going for a nature walk with your family, listening to your favorite music, doing a puzzle or coloring, he said.
The Tulane School of Social Work has developed a self-care web site that includes an array of self-care resources, including virtual workouts and fitness tips, a series of mindfulness and meditation videos and mental health hotlines for those who are having an especially difficult time coping with the crisis.
“You cannot have health without mental health,” Bordnick said. “Unfortunately in this country, due to stigma, we don’t talk about mental health for fear of rejection or for fear of people believing that what you’re going through isn’t real.“