Sharing our experiences in health care, especially during intense, emotional, or stressful times increases our connectedness and well-being. Hearing stories from others helps us know we are not alone, and strengthens our community.
Read stories created and submitted by members of our UW Medicine community about how COVID-19 has impacted them.
We are committed to providing support for you and your family during this time with COVID-19. We want to acknowledge the stress, fear, anxiety and other complex emotions that come with the work we do at the front lines of caring amidst an unknown, ambiguous and evolving landscape. Thank you all for the unprecedented collaboration and creativity you are showing as we develop ways to best support our patients, community and each other in the face of COVID-19.
Below are several ongoing efforts to provide support to our healthcare teams and their families during these challenging times. You may also find daily updates on the UW Medicine Huddle website. The Department of Family Medicine has resources to support patients, healthcare workers, our communities, and ourselves. For updates specific to residents and fellows, please visit the GME website.
Employee Mental Health Support (EMHS)
UW Medicine leadership in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has launched the UW Medicine Employee Mental Health Support (EMHS) program. Through EMHS, UW Medicine employees and their household members who live in Washington State may receive help navigating a variety of mental health resource options.
You can access the intake form here. A Health Navigator can help you identify options available to you. There is no charge to speak with an EMHS Health Navigator. The intake form and communication with the Navigator is completely confidential unless there is risk of harm to self or others. Those seeking resources for individuals under the age of 18 may be directed to Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens (833-303-5437), at Seattle Children’s Hospital designed to help people access care in the community.
If you receive a letter from the Employment Security Department about an unemployment claim that you didn’t make, report it by calling 800-246-9763 or filling out their online form.
UWHR also has more information about what to do if this happens to you.
Additional resources include information on WA Governor Inslee’s one week waiver, the AG’s office on identity theft, and the Secure Access Washington site where you can check if someone has filed a fraudulent unemployment claim using your personal information.
How we recover is as important as how we work and play! Here are some tips for improving your sleep:
- Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature (cooler temperatures can help promote better, deeper sleep).
- Try “relaxing breathing,” or 4-7-8 count breathing. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds and release over 8 seconds. Do this until you fall asleep.
- Try any of the relaxing apps – Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer.
- Consider talking to your doctor about whether medications may benefit you to address the underlying cause of your sleep disruption. Stress can cause chemical imbalances in the brain and medications can help regulate that.
For more sleep recommendations, check out this handout.
Coping with Uncertainty and Anxiety
Cheri Constantino-Shor, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CRNI from UW Medical Center Northwest presents “Finding Meaning and Resilience in Healthcare During the Era of COVID-19” which discusses ways in which the predicted impacts of COVID-19 on behavioral health symptoms will continue to effect healthcare teams and systems, as well as teaching how to cultivate resilience and find meaning.
Our Assistant Dean for Well-Being, Anne Browning, PhD, presents “Well-Being and Resilience During COVID-19” in the Next Generation Medicine Lecture Series, providing ways we can counter grieving the loss of normalcy and anxiety and develop coping skills for dealing with uncertainty.
Kevin Alschuler, PhD (Rehabilitation Medicine and Neurology) presents “Coping with uncertainty and leveraging resilience during COVID-19” on the challenge of COVID-19, of uncertainty, and how to build and use resilience to cope in the best ways possible. Watch the recording.
Town Halls, Well-Being Messages, & Kudos
We have provided additional resources for you and your colleagues below.
TOWN HALLS // virtual gatherings to receive updates from leadership and ask questions
We want to provide access for folks on the front lines to share their concerns and needs regarding their health and well-being with our leadership. Please check your local medical center or practice location communications for updates in local town halls throughout the week.
Future UW Medicine town halls will take place on Fridays once per month at 3pm by Zoom webinar: https://uw-phi.zoom.us/j/887116941 or by phone: 1-253-215-8782 or 1-669-900-6833 or 1-346-248-7799 and Webinar ID: 887 116 941
Please submit your questions in advance so we can address frequently voiced questions and concerns.
Recordings of past town halls are listed below:
UW MEDICINE WELL-BEING MESSAGES // updates for all UW Medicine team members
SUPPORT FOR FRONTLINE WORKERS // donations, discounts, and kudos
In this moment of tremendous community need, we are grateful for your caring support of the UW Medicine Emergency Response Fund. Gifts are urgently needed to ramp up COVID-19 testing, provide care for the most vulnerable, coordinate the state’s emergency response, support research, and provide lifesaving equipment and resources to ensure the health and well-being of our patients and clinical teams. Make your gift today.
Several hotels are offering free or discounted lodging to healthcare and front line workers at this time. If you are in need of lodging, please review this resource.
For the duration of the state of emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a temporary exception to the UW Medicine policies that restrict gifts of food and beverages provided to UW Medicine employees (faculty, staff, residents, etc.) at UW Medicine locations by external sources. If you are in a position to receive food donations please read this FAQ.
For UW Medicine caregivers, many local and national companies are offering free items and discounted rates on products and services.