Mental Health Program Being Formed For Nursing Home Workers

It’s designed to help them get over the stress of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Baltimore, Md (KM). It’s not easy working in a nursing home during this time of COVID-19, but help is on the way for those feeling stressed.

Dr. Aliya Jones, Deputy Secretary with the Maryland Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Administration, says the agency is working with the Maryland Institute of Emergency Services Systems to develop a program to help these employees  deal with the stress of working in a nursing home.

She says  nursing home staff must deal with the strain of coming into work which puts them at risk of contracting the coronavirus. “And then you have the challenges of managing families and their expectations and their concerns, worries and anxieties,” Dr. Jones says. “On top of losing people that you’ve formed connections to because you’re providing care to them.”

A large number of COVID-19 cases have been reported in nursing homes whose residents already have underlying health conditions.

The program being developed, according to Dr. Jones, is not a way to reach out, but to reach in. “Because of that in reach, we hope that we’ll be to more readily identify nursing home staff that are having challenges, and who are interested and are willing to talk to a clinician who has specialty training in the critical incident stress model,” she says.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Jones says these services will done virtually. “And the benefit of that is providers are going to be available 24-hours a day So if it’s after shift, mid-shift, in the middle of night and having a hard time sleeping, a nursing home staffer will have the ability to reach out to someone,” she says.

Until this program is ready to go, nursing home employees or anyone feeling stressed out and needs help, can call 211, and then press the number 1.

“The service is going to be available 24-hours a day. And we  do hope it will make a difference in helping to prevent deterioration or further deterioration of the mental health of those working in such a stressful environment,”: says Dr. Jones.


By Kevin McManus