The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, announces an opportunity for the public to provide information and comments to help improve the mental health and well-being of the nation’s health workers.
As part of the American Rescue Plan of 2021, NIOSH received funding to deliver a national awareness and education campaign to safeguard and improve the mental health of health workers. Through this Request for Information, NIOSH seeks to gain input from partners and the public about current evidence-based occupational safety and health and other related interventions to prevent work-associated stress and improve the mental health of health workers. NIOSH also seeks information on best practices, promising practices, and successful programs related to providing stress prevention and mental health services to health workers.
“Health workers play a vital role in our health, as well as the health of our families and communities, and many put the needs of their patients and others above their own needs,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “Through this initiative, we will work to improve the safety and well-being for the 20 million workers who devote their lives to helping others.”
Workers providing health services, such as first responders, nurses, physicians, and laboratory technicians, face many challenges as part of their job that can lead to work-related stress. These challenges may include difficult working conditions, long hours, rotating and irregular shifts, exposure to human suffering and death, and increased risks for personal exposure to disease and other harms. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified these challenges and contributed to new and worsening mental health concerns, including burnout, compassion fatigue, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, and suicidal ideation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on the mental health of workers,” said Dr. Howard. “We need to take action and information from the public and our partners will be essential to help us develop effective strategies for improving the mental health of America’s health workers.”
NIOSH will use the information provided to support nationwide efforts to raise awareness of mental health concerns, identify best practices to prevent and reduce adverse mental health outcomes, identify workplace and community supports, and reduce stigma related to seeking and receiving care.
To learn more and submit comments, please view the announcement in the Federal Register. The deadline to submit comments is November 26, 2021.
For more information about health workers’ work-related stress and mental health, visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/healthcare/workstress.html.
NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Find more information about NIOSH at www.cdc.gov/niosh.