Flatland KC: For Frontline Workers, No Vaccine for Mental Health
by Mary Sanchez & Vicky Diaz-Camacho
Vaccination rates are rising. Hope is growing that a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections can be kept at bay, along with the spread of variants.
For many, there’s a sense that the “new normal,” a stability not felt for more than a year, is on the horizon.
“The vaccine is not going to fix mental health,” said Dr. Amy Beck, a licensed psychologist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and an associate professor of pediatrics with the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine.
For patients with preexisting cases of depression and anxiety, along with those who developed such diagnosable conditions during the pandemic, the damage is done, Beck said.
There’s no magic shot, no one- or two-dose formula to regain mental health.
The same is true for doctors and nurses, professionals who may be reluctant to admit that they’ve experienced unprecedented levels of stress during the pandemic. Stigmas against accepting help are strong within the culture of medicine, along with concerns that doing so will affect a doctor’s licensure or reputation.
Like with so many other societal concerns, the pandemic heightened and laid bare the need to address the mental health of doctors, nurses and others who have made helping others, too often before themselves, their career choice.
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Find more information about COVID-19 from Children's Mercy