Resource for Health Care Workers and First Responders

Providing care to others during the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to stress, anxiety, fear, and other strong emotions. How you cope with these emotions can affect your well-being, the care you give to others while doing your job, and the well-being of the people you care about outside of work. During this pandemic, it is critical that you recognize what stress looks like, take steps to build your resilience and cope with stress, and know where to go if you need help. Therefore, we believe that it is essential that we provide resources to help healthcare workers cope with the mental health impact of their work.

From June-September 2020, MHA hosted a survey on to listen to the experiences of healthcare workers during COVID-19 and to create better resources to help support their mental health as they continue to provide care. The responses collected from the 1,119 healthcare workers surveyed indicated that they are:

    • Stressed out and stretched too thin
    • Worried about exposing loved ones:
    • Emotionally and physically exhausted
    • Not getting enough emotional support
    • Struggling with parenting

If you would like to read the analysis on the responses collected, please refer to the flipbook below.

Recognize the symptoms of stress you may be experiencing:

it is critical that you recognize what stress looks like, take steps to build your resilience and cope with stress, and know where to go if you need help.

      • Feeling irritation, anger, or denial
      • Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
      • Feeling helpless or powerless
      • Lacking motivation
      • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out
      • Feeling sad or depressed
      • Having trouble sleeping
      • Having trouble concentrating
Tips to cope and enhance your resilience:
    • Communicate with your coworkers, supervisors, and employees about job stress.
      • Talk openly about how the pandemic is affecting your work.
      • Identify factors that cause stress and work together to identify solutions.
      • Ask about how to access mental health resources in your workplace.
    • Remind yourself that everyone is in an unusual situation with limited resources.
    • Identify and accept those things which you do not have control over.
    • Recognize that you are performing a crucial role in fighting this pandemic and that you are doing the best you can with the resources available.
    • Increase your sense of control by keeping a consistent daily routine when possible — ideally one that is similar to your schedule before the pandemic.
      • Try to get adequate sleep.
      • Make time to eat healthy meals.
      • Take breaks during your shift to rest, stretch, or check in with supportive colleagues, coworkers, friends and family.
    • When away from work, get exercise when you can. Spend time outdoors either being physically activity or relaxing. Do things you enjoy during non-work hours.
    • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting, especially since you work with people directly affected by the virus.
    • If you feel you may be misusing alcohol or other drugs (including prescriptions), ask for help.
    • Engage in mindfulness techniques, such as breathing exercises and meditation.
    • If you are being treated for a mental health condition, continue with your treatment and talk to your provider if you experience new or worsening symptoms.
      • Recognize and respect differences in yourself, your patients, and your colleagues, such as needing to talk versus needing to be alone.
      •  Rely on trusted sources of information and participate in meetings where relevant information is provided. However, avoid watching or listening to news reports 24/7. Graphic imagery and worrisome messages can increase your stress and may reduce your effectiveness and overall well-being.
      • Monitor yourself over time for any symptoms of depression or stress, such as prolonged sadness, difficulty sleeping, intrusive memories, and/or hopelessness.
Web and mobile app resources

Grow Your Coping Skills with the following Web and Mobile Apps.

A lowercase letter 'h' with a multicolor circle around it.


Whether you’re feeling sad, anxious, or stressed, Happify brings you engaging activities and games to help you take control of your feelings and thoughts.

An orange circle in the middle of a white square, with the text "Headspace" at the bottom.


Headspace offers guided meditation and mindfulness exercises. The app is free to healthcare workers through 2020.

A pink square with white mountains in the middle. At the top of the highest mountain is a blank flag.


MoodMission is an evidence-based app designed to empower you to overcome feelings of depression and anxiety by learning new evidence-based coping skills.

A full moon glows against a black night sky.

Pixel Thoughts

Pixel Thoughts is a free, 60-second meditation tool to help clear your mind.

A yellow cartoon robot with teal circles around it.


Woebot is a free and confidential chatbot that guides users through practical, tested techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Caring for Yourself and Others during the COVID-19 Pandemic :
Resilience Training for Healthcare Workers:
Know where to go if you need help:

If you’re concerned that you or someone in your household may harm themselves or someone else:

If you feel overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety:

If you need to find treatment or mental health providers in your area:

If you are experiencing COVID-19 pandemic related mental health strains and need free, confidential service: 

“Be Well Crisis Helpline” – Dial 211, enter your ZIP code, press 3. 

Trained counselors 24/7 regarding stress, anxiety, loneliness or mental health strains due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Service is free and confidential.