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Mental Health Awareness Month: supporting our caregivers mental health and wellbeing

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Female doctor wearing personal protective equipment

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Dr. Jane Englebright, senior vice president and chief nurse executive, reflects on the past year and HCA Healthcare’s commitment to supporting our caregivers’ mental well-being each, and every, day.

The past year has been challenging for everyone, especially for frontline care providers.  We have seen our nurses, physicians, clinicians and care teams work relentlessly to provide exemplary care for each patient at HCA Healthcare, and that effort has taken its toll on our colleagues and the healthcare community as a whole.

From June to September of 2020, Mental Health America (MHA), a nationwide mental health non-profit, conducted an online survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on caregivers’ mental health and well-being. From the survey, 93% of healthcare workers reported feeling stressed, 86% experienced anxiety, 82% expressed emotional exhaustion and 55% questioned their choice in career paths.

We have seen innovation and creativity to solve challenges uniquely presented by the pandemic. One challenge, which turned into a top priority, was protecting our people. Caregivers make up the majority of our workforce at HCA Healthcare. With 93,000 nurses and 47,000 affiliated and active physicians, the need for emotional health and wellbeing resources is vital.

Resources and partnerships are available to our colleagues and their families to support and encourage their emotional health and well-being, even prior to the pandemic, including:

  • Nurse Care is a confidential and free program designed to provide our hospital-based nurses 24/7/365 access to licensed psychologists, social workers, alcohol and drug counselors, and marriage and family therapists who have the experience and connections to give support with whatever our caregivers need. As of May 2021, the Nurse Care line has received nearly 11,000 calls.
  • HCA Healthcare colleagues and members of their household also have access to FREE counseling services through Optum**. Optum can connect you and any member of your household with a Masters-level clinician for five free and confidential counseling sessions per topic — available in person, online or via the Talkspace app. As of May 2021, Optum has received more than 11,500 calls. Call Optum 24/7/365 for support at (877) 950-5075 or visit liveandworkwell.com (access code: HCA).
  • Colleagues are encouraged to access the HCA Rewards Wellbeing Hub for resources and tools to support all aspects of their life including emotional wellbeing, family and household (including resources for center-based and in-home child care), finances, legal support, overall health and physical wellness, diversity, equity & inclusion resources and Time Away From Work. Log on to HCAhrAnswers.com*, choose HCA Rewards and select Wellbeing to get started.
  • The HCA Healthcare Hope Fund, a colleague-run, colleague-supported a 501(c)(3) public charity, supports colleagues through unexpected crises, such as a personal illness, death of a dependent family member, domestic violence, affording necessities after a disaster or other difficult situations. In 2020, the Hope Fund has supported more than 2,000 colleagues with more than $3 million to help with the loss of household income, childcare costs or other unexpected financial challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Frank Drummond, HCA Healthcare’s chief medical officer of psychiatry, hosted a series of podcasts that focused on caregiver wellness with HCA Healthcare and industry thought leaders. The five-episode series shared tips on sleeping, parenting and taking care of yourself during these challenging times.
  • HCA Healthcare has partnered with national organizations like National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, EVERFI and PsychHub to provide more resources for our colleagues.

Now more than ever, it is important for our organization to continue to support and encourage our physicians, nurses and care team members to prioritize their mental well-being. I recognize how emotionally exhausting the healthcare industry has been recently, and one of my priorities is to ensure our caregivers feel supported as they continue to navigate this journey.

I want to close by saying thank you to our caregivers. Thank you for caring for our patients despite the challenges you have faced over the year. Thank you for taking care of each other with incredible kindness and compassion. I am thankful to have each of you on our team at HCA Healthcare, and I know that mental health and well-being will continue to be a priority as we move forward together.

For HCA Healthcare colleagues:

*If your facility does not use HCAhrAnswers: While on the HCA Healthcare network, go to Atlas Connect (https://connect.medcity.net) and click the HCA Benefits and Rewards icon. If your facility does not have access to Atlas Connect, go to HCArewards.com.

** North Texas Colleagues should use iPM for counseling services.

Exterior view of a hospital lit with green lights.
During the month of May, HCA Healthcare’s Orange Park Medical Center in Florida was lit green to shine on a light on Mental Health Awareness Month.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 186 hospitals and more than 2,000 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our approximately 275,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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