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NYC Health + Hospitals implements interactive screening programme to support mental health of healthcare providers

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In a proactive move to address the mental health needs of its staff, NYC Health + Hospitals has teamed up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to launch the Interactive Screening Program (ISP).

This innovative online tool provides an anonymous platform for healthcare providers to assess their mental well-being and seek support if needed. Rolled out on March 13, 2024, the program aims to mitigate the elevated risk of suicide among healthcare workers, as highlighted in research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Interactive Screening Program, developed by AFSP in 2001, has been widely adopted across various sectors, including healthcare, law enforcement, and higher education.

It allows employees to complete a brief stress and depression questionnaire and subsequently receive personalized feedback from a counselor. Additionally, staff members are provided information about available mental health services and can schedule appointments with counselors if desired.

Mitchell Katz, MD, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, emphasized the importance of prioritizing mental health in healthcare settings, acknowledging the enduring stress faced by frontline workers.

He expressed pride in the partnership with AFSP and the implementation of ISP as a means to support the well-being of employees.

Eric Wei, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President and System Chief Quality Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals, described the addition of ISP as a significant milestone in the organization’s ongoing efforts to promote staff wellness. With the ISP’s integration into the Helping Healers Heal (H3) program, employees now have access to a comprehensive range of resources to address their mental health needs.

“Taking care of our health means taking care of our mental health as well,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “NYC Health + Hospitals is proud to bolster our efforts to support our employees’ mental health through a new partnership with AFSP. Our healthcare workers are often exposed to trauma and critically ill patients, and the stress can have lasting impact. This tool will help our frontline healthcare workers recognize signs and symptoms of distress and learn about available mental health services options.”

The launch of ISP comes at a critical time, with reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating high levels of burnout among healthcare workers.

The Physicians Foundation’s findings further underscore the prevalence of mental health stigma within the medical community. Against this backdrop, the collaboration between NYC Health + Hospitals and AFSP represents a proactive step towards destigmatizing mental health support and fostering a culture of well-being.

Jeremy Segall, Assistant Vice President and System Chief Wellness Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals, emphasized the importance of confidentiality and voluntarism in seeking help through ISP. He highlighted the program’s role in ensuring that staff members receive the care they need, mirroring the dedication they exhibit in caring for others.

Dr. Christine Yu Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of AFSP, stressed the significance of ISP in facilitating help-seeking behavior among healthcare providers. By offering avenues for peer support and clinical services, the program aims to enhance resilience and reduce suicide risk among frontline workers.

Endorsed by reputable bodies such as the Best Practice Registry for Suicide Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General’s report on addressing health worker burnout, ISP stands as a testament to evidence-based approaches in supporting mental health within healthcare settings.

As NYC Health + Hospitals pioneers this initiative, it sets a precedent for other organizations to prioritize the well-being of their workforce in the face of mounting challenges.

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