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    APA Foundation's Center for Workplace Mental Health Convenes National Health Care Leaders in a Forum on Well-Being at Work

    Mar 27 2024

    Washington, D.C. The Center for Workplace Mental Health (CWMH), a program of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APA Foundation), convened leaders from hospitals, health systems, medical membership societies, and allied health organizations on March 20 to discuss strategies and best practices for increased support for the mental health of health care workers. The need for access to high-quality, culturally competent mental health services for frontline health care workers predates COVID-19 but was exacerbated by the pandemic and is more pronounced today than ever. Attendees at the invitation-only roundtable discussed ways to collectively address clinician burnout and well-being.

    The event amplified the recent release of the CWMH Frontline Connect Toolkit, Improving Mental Health Care for Clinicians: Leading Interventions for Your Workforce, a resource that highlights necessary policy and systems changes to create a culture of well-being that supports accessing mental health care when it’s needed. Grounded in a video library of interviews with experts and leaders in the field, the toolkit acts as a roadmap for leadership in navigating successfully implemented strategies and programs at leading institutions around the country, including Northwestern Medicine, ChristianaCare, and Ochsner Health System.

    “Our nations’ health professionals are facing dangerous levels of burnout and an increased risk of suicidality at a time when the need for quality affordable patient care continues to grow. We are grateful that the Center for Workplace Mental Health spearheaded the effort to produce the Frontline Connect Toolkit, which is a just-in-time salve to humanize our health care heroes. The APA Foundation also applauds each of the valued leaders who professed their commitment to upholding these workers’ human dignity and preserving their mental well-being by applying evidence-based best practices in the workforce,” said Rawle Andrews, Jr., Esq., Executive Director of the APA Foundation.

    Event attendees included representatives from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Foundation, Harvard Medical School, Lyra Health, Northwestern Medicine, Mount Sinai, INOVA Health, and many more. Rebecca Brendel, M.D., J.D., APA Immediate Past President and Director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics, opened the event by sharing her own personal experience as a frontline health care clinician delivering care during COVID-19 and the impact it had on her as both a human and physician.

    Katie Godfrey, Ph.D., the Director of the Center for WorkLife Wellbeing at ChristianaCare, attended the event and participated as a panelist. “The Frontline Connect toolkit is such a valuable resource as it highlights a range of effective wellbeing programs implemented in different health care organizations across the county and the lessons learned along the way,” said Dr. Godfrey. “When doing work in health care professional wellbeing, it's essential that we share ideas and programs as we continue to learn from one another. We are stronger together if nobody has to reinvent the wheel and if we can collaborate to improve the wellbeing of health care professionals nationwide.”

    Frontline Connect is made possible by the Brave of Heart Fund, founded by the Foundations of New York Life and Cigna, and administered by E4E Relief. Established to provide charitable grants and emotional support services to families of frontline health care workers whose lives were lost in the fight against COVID-19, the Brave of Heart Fund also partnered with nonprofits aligned with the spirit of the fund’s core purposes. APAF received a grant through the Fund’s focus on supporting the emotional well-being of health care workers.

    To access the toolkit and learn more about Frontline Connect, visit frontlineconnect.org.

    American Psychiatric Association Foundation

    The American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APA Foundation) is the philanthropic and educational arm of the American Psychiatric Association. The APA Foundation promotes awareness of mental illnesses and the effectiveness of treatment, the importance of early intervention, access to care, and the need for high-quality services and treatment through a combination of public and professional education, research, research training, grants, and awards. The APA Foundation's Center for Workplace Mental Health provides employers with the tools, resources, and information needed to promote and support the mental health of employees and their families. Visit apafdn.org to learn more.

    American Psychiatric Association

    The American Psychiatric Association (APA), founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.