January 5, 2024

Mental health peer support more common among health systems

Editor's Note

Healthcare systems are increasingly leveraging peer support programs to help reduce staff burnout and combat problems of loneliness and isolation. Examples cited in a January 4 report from Becker’s Hospital Review include:

NYC Health + Hospitals has assigned each unit a “well-being buddy”–a volunteer who checks in on colleagues to ask how they are doing and if they need anything. The program has led to an improvement in patient and nurse satisfaction scores. 

In Houston, the Memorial Hermann Health System implemented “Code Lilac” which uses peer responders trained in psychological first aid to support colleagues in distress. These, too, are volunteer positions, and more than 400 volunteers have supported the system’s 10,000 employees thus far.  The program emphasizes talking about stress and trauma to better deal with the associated emotions and difficulty of their roles with someone they can trust. 

Cleveland Clinic, meanwhile, now has “friendtors” in their system, who encourage bonding between employees and managers to create a stronger sense of purpose and belonging.

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