From pilot to a global-scale response, Project HOPE program is addressing mental health crisis as health workers cope with COVID’s toll on top of existing strains

Washington, D.C. (October 6, 2021) — As health workers navigate the profound toll of an uncontained pandemic on top of high job stress, many are signaling the need for support not only with health system capacity, but also emotionally.

While mental wellness is crucial to quality of care and life beyond work, health workers’ mental health needs have been largely unaddressed. Now, a growing international effort is underway to respond to health care workers’ calls for support. Yet, more needs to be done, including increasing resources dedicated to offering mental health support for health care workers.

“We’ve heard countless media stories where health workers describe unthinkable conditions and the emotional toll they face, pleading with the public to care. But we haven’t heard what’s being done to support them,” said Rawan Hamadeh, project coordinator leading Project HOPE’s mental health programs.

Focused on local communities, but designed to scale globally, Project HOPE’s Mental Health and Resilience Training for Healthcare Workers initiative, launched in May 2021, is targeting at least 51,000 health care workers across five continents. By starting with training a set of 1,000 trainers, each trainee will subsequently cascade the training to reach a total of over 50,000 participants. The program has been made possible by a $1 million grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy COVID-19 Response Fund, enabling Project HOPE to expand beyond the successful pilot to deliver support on the world stage.

“Mental health and total health are inherently interconnected. One shadow pandemic COVID-19 has caused is the increasing mental health crisis impacting health care workers. By addressing this problem proactively, we can protect frontline health workers today and create a work culture where mental wellness is prioritized,” Hamadeh added.

Piloted in Indonesia and the Dominican Republic, the program is based on “The Healing, Education, Resilience & Opportunity for New York’s Frontline Workers (HERO-NY)” train-the-trainer series originally developed by New York City Health and Hospitals (NYC H+H) to meet the needs of health care workers in New York. The program has been translated into five languages, including Bahasa Indonesian, Filipino, Spanish, Portuguese and French, with Arabic and Bengali translations in process. Trainings are customized to reflect the local cultural environments …….


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