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Local hospital mental health resources being used by their employees more than ever

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Coronavirus mental health

TUCSON (KVOA) – It's been nearly four months since the initial stay at home order to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona.

Frontline workers couldn't stay home and continue to play an important role during the pandemic. Two nearby hospitals are seeing their mental health resources for their staff members being used at an all-time high.

"We always say these are normal responses to an abnormal event in an abnormal time," Eileen Fernstrom, the Senior Risk Manager for Banner University Medical Center Tucson told News 4 Tucson.

Banner Health employs over 6,000 individuals in southern Arizona. Each of those 6,000 have access to mental health resources such as one-on-one sessions, daily phone calls and town hall meetings to keep them up to date with the most accurate information.

According to Banner, resources such as these have absolutely seen more use during the pandemic.

"I looked at our town hall that was just a few days ago for this week and we had over 600 people call-in for that town hall, and that's just Tucson," Fernstrom added.

But, Banner is not the only one who employs frontline workers in town.

"The frontline healthcare workers are together every single day. I think it's an emotional strain on them. And, they have been really working together as a team and doing a very nice job supporting one another as they are going through this," Northwest Medical Center CEO Jennifer Schomburg told News 4 Tucson.

Northwest Healthcare also provides many of the same offerings as Banner.

They are trying their best to provide different types of resources that are available in whatever form their 3,200 employees prefer. Group therapy, virtual mental health care and a hotline.

"Just feeling support from the people around you, whether it's anonymous or in person and the feedback we've got, they really appreciate that," said Fernstrom.