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Supporting Healthcare and Public Health Workforce Mental Health

Health Links® partners with CO-CARES to provide workplace support for extended care healthcare and public health workers

minute read

Written by Laura Veith on October 11, 2023

Health workers probably deserved more of our attention before the COVID-19 pandemic. The global crisis only elevated their experience of mental health concerns like stress, burnout, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicidality.

According to a Mental Health America survey from June-September 2020:

  • 93% of health workers reported being stressed out and stretched too thin
  • 82% shared being emotionally and physically exhausted
  • 45% of nurses reported that they were not getting enough emotional support

Even more specifically, nursing home and extended care facility patients were impacted significantly by the pandemic, as were the employees of these healthcare facilities. Similarly, risk of deathly infection, staffing shortages, and the crisis response and job demands overburdened public health workers in an entirely new way.

The road to recovery from the impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers is long and we are just at the beginning. To help, Health Links (from the Center for Health, Work & Environment) has partnered with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to launch CO-CARES, a new initiative to support healthcare and public health workers’ pandemic recovery. CO-CARES connects healthcare and public health workers of all kinds to a variety of free resources and tools that support recovery, improve well-being, improve teamwork, and foster organizational resilience.

CO-CARES is the Colorado Alliance for Resilient and Equitable Systems serving the public health and healthcare workforce. Health Links is working with organizations throughout Colorado with an emphasis on rural communities, and other facilities that lack the financial means to access the Health Links program. Health Links works at the organizational level to help employers support the total health of their employees. Through assessment and advising, Health Links helps organizations improve their health, safety and well-being programs and policies.

An aspect of the program that will be especially impactful for Colorado healthcare and public health organizations is the Health Links Workplace Mental Health Module, which includes a workplace assessment, toolkit, action plan, and advising aimed at using evidence-based practices to improve employee mental health. Through CO-CARES Health Links will expand its program to better serve healthcare and public health organizations by providing free access to Health Links and the Workplace Mental Health Module.

“We know employees in these industries are in continued need of support,” said David Shapiro, Health Links senior manager of programs and partnerships. “We are eager to reach them with the help of this partnership and make employee mental health supports more accessible for these hard-to-reach organizations.”

To understand if your program is eligible, please email cdphe_healthcareworkersupport@state.co.us.

Topics: Worker Health