Managing the Stress and Anxiety of COVID-19 for You and Your Patients

Mental health experts at UAMS including Dr. Sacha McBain, the Associate Director of the Center for Trauma Prevention, Recovery, and Innovation (TPRI) and Department of Psychiatry Chair, Dr. Rick Smith, along with many others have been working diligently to meet the mental
health needs of healthcare workers and Arkansas residents during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) virus outbreak. Healthcare workers play a vital role in maintaining the health of our communities during this uncertain time. As we are already seeing in places like Italy, New York, and Seattle, and know from past pandemics, providing care during conditions of a pandemic puts healthcare workers at greater risk to experience depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Stress during this time can come from many places. Increased stress may come from growing
work demands or managing the distress and questions of patients, family, and friends. Stress
can result from efforts to keep up with constant shifts in guidance or the availability of resources, like PPE. Stress is a companion to feelings of fear of infection or infecting others. It
could even result from ways in which the pandemic has disrupted personal lives, stalled
professional goals, or even highlighted or worsened existing seemingly unrelated stressors. This is all to say, stress has even more opportunity to enter healthcare workers lives right now.
Maintaining physical and mental health during this time is crucial to minimizing the
detrimental effects of stress and promoting longevity and health through this pandemic.

Below you will find evidence-based resources to manage your own stress as well as tools to
reference when patients, family or friends look to you for guidance or comfort. We hope you
will take the time to review the resources. As Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “a penny of
prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Be well and take care of yourself and others,

Sacha McBain, PHD, UAMS
Richard Smith, MD, UAMS

Download the following guides to help manage stress during this time of crisis: