Virtual peer support to help frontline providers cope with stresses of COVID-19

The Betsy Lehman Center is piloting a series of virtual peer support groups aimed at helping frontline health care workers thrive despite the stresses and emotional toll of caring for people during the pandemic. This comes as the entire health care community prepares for a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts.

The Center has organized four support groups - facilitated by licensed mental health professionals - that will meet through an online platform once each week for four-to-six weeks. The sessions will focus on key topics of concern, coping skills, and mutual support. Two pilot groups are designated for frontline workers at nursing homes, one for clinicians and staff at a midsize hospital, and one for supervisors who manage workers at home care agencies around the state.

“The need for this is very real,” says Linda Kenney, Director of Peer Support Programs at the Betsy Lehman Center, who has more than 15 years of experience developing and implementing peer support models. “These are people who spend every day caring for others. It’s important that we find a way to make sure they are taking care of themselves too.”

The pilot initiative will be evaluated in December with an eye toward scaling it to meet the needs of a larger group of care providers in 2021.

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