A Lifeline for Frontline Heroes

“Doctors often put themselves last when it comes to health and emotional wellness. But it is critical that we provide these frontline heroes with access to healing and hope.”
-Dr. Mona Masood

100+ volunteer psychiatrists

provide approximately

150 hours

of counseling each month to physicians needing support.

Through over 20 multimodal life saving crisis and emotional support helplines, Vibrant makes it easy to access specialized, confidential help anytime, anyplace and in any way that works.

Since the pandemic began, physicians have been placed in the role of healers and heroes. That’s a heavy burden to carry, especially with no end in sight. Access to emotional support is essential for the medical community to process the unprecedented trauma and stress they’ve experienced. That’s why I started the Physicians Support Line that I operate in partnership with Vibrant. 

I’m a psychiatrist in the greater Philadelphia area and I also serve as a moderator for a nationwide COVID-19 physicians’ group. In those early days of the pandemic, I could see the toll the pandemic was taking on the medical community. I noticed physicians were asking colleagues on social media, “Does anybody know of a good lawyer who writes wills?” instead of saying, “I’m thinking a lot lately about death.” Health care workers tend to put their own emotional health last. But when we don’t process our grief and trauma, it can be incredibly unhealthy. 

When I saw these warning signs across online conversations, I couldn’t sleep. I told my husband, “I feel like this is the stroke that’s about to happen” to the medical community. That’s when I took action. I put out a request on social media asking for volunteer psychiatrists to help launch a crisis hotline for physicians. The response was overwhelming. Within just one week, 200 psychiatrists had signed up to participate. I hired a legal team to put together our policies and procedures so that we could operate across state lines, and I purchased a toll-free number. Physicians thanked me for what they felt too scared to say out loud -- that they needed access to help.

Today, the Physicians Support Line (888-409-0141) is staffed by more than 800 licensed psychiatrists. They receive best-in-class training from Vibrant’s experts who have decades of experience operating national crisis hotlines, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Together, we hope to normalize the pursuit of mental wellness by the medical community. 

Next Story

Delivering Immediate Support,
Anytime &Anywhere

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When the pandemic began, NYC Well, New York City's flagship go-to-resource for confidential mental health support, crisis intervention, and connection to services, had just five days to shift more than 100 crisis counselors to remote work, all while continuing to provide this lifesaving service. Katherine Polanco, Operations Manager for NYC Well, tells us how she and the counselors adapted to meet the needs of her staff, and the people they serve, practically overnight.

March 2020 was the beginning of the pandemic and New York City was at the epicenter of the global crisis. There was so much fear on the streets, in homes and across offices. No one knew what was coming and what impact it would have on all our lives. This was the backdrop NYC Well operated under in the early days of the pandemic. As New York City’s free, comprehensive crisis and support line administered by Vibrant, we knew we had to move our team to an all-virtual work environment, and it had to happen fast. We couldn’t afford to not deliver our essential services.

Over the course of just five head-spinning days in mid-March, our IT and HR departments worked around the clock preparing to transition our 100 hotline counselors into a remote workforce. This included procuring and setting up hundreds of additional headsets, computer monitors, and laptops. Our counselors remained committed to meeting the growing needs of New Yorkers, taking calls from the office until they received the necessary supplies to work remotely. And in a city where most people don’t have cars, they had to be creative to transport their devices home. I’ll never forget watching several of them pack a laptop into a backpack, a computer monitor in one hand, as they headed out the door to the subway. Their commitment ensured the hotline could respond to the spike in call volume caused by the threat of COVID-19.

As the pandemic continues, so too does the overwhelming need for NYC Well’s emotional health services. We have responded by tripling our staff, from 100 to more than 200 crisis counselors. Being able to meet the increased demand for our services has been gratifying. Our counselors are providing support to New Yorkers in emotional distress and helping people find the resources they need. This has never been more important than during this time. The counselors are the mental health heroes of this pandemic.

While this has been an intense and challenging chapter for everyone. I am proud of how our team adapted, without interrupting the support we provide to New Yorkers. We have demonstrated what we always say -- that NYC Well is here for you, no matter the time of day or the crisis you are facing. We show up for you and we give you our all.