A health care workers mental health crisis line in the age of COVID-19

Robert E. Feinstein, Sussann Kotara, Barbara Jones, Donna Shanor, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a health care crisis of unparalleled devastation. A mental health crisis as a second wave has begun to emerge in our front-line health care workers. Objective: To address these needs, The Healthcare Worker Mental Health COVID-19 Hotline, based on crisis intervention principles, was developed and launched in 2 weeks. Methods: Upon reflection of why this worked, we decided it might be useful to describe what we now recognize as 13-steps which led to our success. The process included the following: (1) anticipate mental health needs; (2) use leadership capable of mobilizing the systems and resources; (3) convene a multidisciplinary team; (4) delegate tasks and set timelines; (5) choose a clinical service model; (6) motivate staff as a workforce of volunteers; (7) develop training and educational materials; (8) develop personal, local, and national resources; (9) develop marketing plans; (10) deliver the training; (11) launch a 24 hr/7days per week Healthcare Worker Mental Health COVID-19 Hotline, and launch follow-up sessions for staff; (12) structure data collection to determine effectiveness and outcomes; and (13) obtain funding (not required). Discussion: We believe the process we used is specifically useful for others who may want to develop a COVID-19 hotline services for health care workers and generally useful for the development of other mental health services. Conclusion: We hope that this process may serve as a guide for other heath care systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)822-826
Number of pages5
JournalDepression and anxiety
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19 mental health response
  • coping
  • crisis intervention hotline
  • health care service
  • mental health hotline
  • problem-solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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