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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals Receives $75,000 Grant From the George Link, Jr. Foundation to Support System's Employee Emotional Support Program

Grant will ensure continued mental and emotional outreach and resources for all staff during the Omicron surge and beyond

Feb 04, 2022

New York, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced it has received a $75,000 grant from The George Link, Jr. Foundation to support the public health system’s employee emotional support program, Helping Healers Heal (H3), during the Omicron surge and beyond. H3 is the system’s peer support program that was expanded during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure employees’ emotional and psychological wellness needs were being addressed. The grant will ensure continued mental and emotional outreach and resources for all staff during the Omicron surge and beyond. The George Link Jr. Foundation previously donated $50,000 to the program.
“Our health care teams have worked tirelessly to provide essential and life-saving services throughout our health system for nearly two years, but we must not forget to support our health care heroes’ wellbeing in the process,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Eric Wei, MD, MBA. “We thank the George Link, Jr. Foundation for their continued leadership and generosity in addressing the needs of our frontline staff during the challenges COVID-19 surges.”
“The George Link, Jr. Foundation is exemplary in their generosity. This grant award highlights one of the many ways that our partners and communities can make an impact on our work and support our system’s brave workforce and our COVID-19 related efforts,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President for External & Regulatory Affairs Deborah A. Brown, JD, MSW.
These programs, led by the system’s H3 teams in partnership with the Office of Behavioral Health and made available to all employees, are aimed at helping to identify and monitor distress, as well as to assist staff in resilience-building while aiding the utilization of recovery resources and coping support services. NYC Health + Hospitals continues to urge all staff members to seek mental health care to support their wellbeing during the pandemic and beyond.
Since the COVID-19 peak in NYC, programs led through NYC Health + Hospitals for staff mental wellness saw:

  • Over 40,975 proactive unit-based wellness rounds, which include mental health experts and peer-support teams actively engaging employees working in areas heavily affected by COVID-19. Wellness rounds focus on identifying and supporting employees showing symptoms of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and burnout, and connecting them to services if requested – including one-on-one telephonic, in-person debrief, or anonymous counseling;
  • Nearly 6,570 additional H3 debrief encounters that include group debriefs, 1:1 peer support sessions, and wellness events. These encounters are formally structured as open forum directives that are facilitated utilizing the skills of licensed creative arts therapists, other mental health practitioners, as well as H3 leads with the intention to allow thoughts and feelings to be expressed and shared verbally and nonverbally using the healing powers of creativity and art.  This provides frontline staff the opportunity to share their experiences in a safe environment with other staff who were experiencing similar days and stress;
  • Over 200 cumulative calls to the public health system’s anonymous behavioral health employee-only hotline, which connects employees in need of support with psychiatrists/ psychologists, and is staffed by NYC Health + Hospitals employee volunteers;
  • Approximately 84,942 visits to 31 respite/wellness rooms, allowing staff to take a break and engage in calming activities, such as meditation or crafting. Respite rooms are staffed by licensed mental health professionals standing at the ready to provide support to any staff that needed it.

The Helping Healers Heal program was launched at NYC Health + Hospitals in 2018 by President and CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz and Chief Quality Officer Dr. Eric Wei. The program is rooted in national research that points to health care providers as “Second Victims” of traumatic events commonly experienced in all healthcare settings. Since its launch, the program has grown to be more inclusive of compassion fatigue, burnout, complex and collective trauma, and more. All H3 teams include licensed mental health practitioners and other behavioral health experts.
The George Link, Jr. Foundation is an independent non-profit foundation based in New York, New York.
All NYC Health + Hospitals staff members who may be experiencing mental health challenges are urged to seek support through any modality offered to all employees throughout the system.
New Yorkers interested in seeking out mental health support can reach out to 844-NYC-4NYC for an appointment at NYC Health + Hospitals, or by reaching out to NYC Well.
If you would like to donate to NYC Health + Hospitals, please visit this link on our website.