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Establishing Peer Support Groups in a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic crisis is a mix of danger and opportunity. We are facing unprecedented change in
healthcare, and dealing with much uncertainty and complexity. Healthcare workers are experiencing
significant, and possibly enduring, psychological distress. Common concerns voiced to date include lack of
access to personal protective equipment and testing, virus spread and risk of infection to ourselves and
possible spread to patients and family, planning for surge in care demands, stigma, and managing ethical
dilemmas.
To help frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, our main focus is to support them to
maintain resilience. When possible, face to face group intervention in the location where the staff are working

is the most powerful intervention. However, during this time of physical distancing, we can leverage use of on-
line communication to offer effective support to a wider community of health care workers at multiple

locations. We have successfully initiated online support groups for Canadian physicians.
During traumatic periods such as pandemics, our interventions should focus on five important goals.
1. Create safety as we intervene to help.
2. Become aware of emotions and put them to words.
3. Teach and highlight concepts and behaviours that increase resiliency.
4. Articulate a sense of meaning and purpose for the present actions.
5. Create a sense of supportive community.
  • Mental health services
  • Community Health Workers
  • Dental Providers
  • Medical Imaging Workers
  • Medical Laboratory Technologists
  • Mental Health Workers
  • Nurse Practitioners*
  • Nurse Specialists*
  • Nurses - Registered
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Paramedics
  • Personal Support Workers
  • Pharmacy Workers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physicians - Emergency
  • Physicians - Intensive Care
  • Physicians - Primary/Family
  • Physicians - Specialists
  • Public Health Workers
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Speech/Language Pathologists
  • Other Health Care Workers
  • Community Health Services
  • Critical Care
  • Diagnostic Services
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Home Care Services
  • Hospitals
  • Indigenous Health Services
  • Long-Term Care
  • Mental Health Services
  • Primary Health Care
  • Public Health
  • Other
  • Urban/Suburban
  • Rural
  • Remote
Research Intervention - outcome data available
Mamta Gautam
613-729-3794
Canada
Canada

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