By the Department of Psychiatry’s wellness advocate, Dr. Deirdre Conroy:
So many events in the last few years have challenged our sense of safety on many levels. In the last few months, the country has continued to see major changes -- most recently the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade means access to abortion services will be up to the discretion of individual states. This decision introduces challenges to health and mental health not only our patients, but also members of our department.
The American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers issued a statement in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision. Notably, APA president Frank C. Worrell, Ph.D., warns that women without this healthcare may have “higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions.”
We are here for each other
Part of honoring wellness in our workplace is to offer psychological safety for those who need it. As psychiatry professor Dr. Kirk Brower describes in Advancing Workplace Wellness in Abnormal Times, this encompasses three major themes:
- Feeling protected
- Feeling connected
- Feeling respected
How Psychiatry represents these missions
Drs. Maria Muzik (Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology) and Kate Rosenblum (Professor of Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Pediatrics), are Co-Directors of Zero to Thrive and the Women and Infants Mental Health Program. Recognizing the emotional toll of working with highly stressed patients and families, both for their research staff and within their clinical teams --Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinic (Muzik) and Infant, Early Childhood Clinic (Rosenblum) -- they have implemented a workforce support concept of reflective consultation. For clinical teams, this means the clinicians on their teams (doctors/PAs, social work, psychology) have the opportunity to meet regularly each month with an external reflective consultant who provides a “safe space for reflection” to allow team members to discuss and process emotional responses in regards to patient care, work load, work stressors, and any other team- and work-related issues that may impact clinical care and job satisfaction.
In prior research, including reflective consultation as part of the clinical model has been shown to help reduce workforce burn out, improve team spirit, and increase job satisfaction.
If you or anyone else you know is in need, please utilize resources from Wellness Office.
View all of Dr. Conroy's articles on the Welcome Wellness homepage.