In order to help healthcare workers and others across Michigan who are still reporting to work in public spaces during the pandemic, Sara Stein—a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in social work and clinical psychology—has helped to create mifrontlinesupport.com. This online directory provides access to available mental health resources for Michiganders working on the COVID-19 frontline.
“What is being asked of the frontline workers is really incredibly overwhelming,” says Stein. “We want to help reduce barriers for them to get mental health services with an up-to-date list of available providers that we are monitoring every single day.”
Stein says that she and her collaborators recognize that people who are keeping essential businesses functioning might have different experiences than somebody who’s working in a hospital right now, but that doesn’t mean that work is less taxing for them. Anyone who’s donned a mask and gloves to make a 15-minute dash into a store for supplies, for example, can appreciate the tension in a space where someone else is working an eight-hour shift. Additional factors can come into play for those who need to work but who cannot do so from home.
“This doesn’t apply to everyone, but people who are employed by a health system or in a hospital setting by and large may have more access to things like medical benefits or may be more likely to be salaried,” Stein says. “A delivery or Uber driver would not necessarily have those same levels of social protections in place. Maybe their moment-to-moment stress is less, but I think their vulnerability is a lot higher.