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Published on June 02, 2021

Avera Expands the Reach of Its Health Care Workers Stress Hotline

Avera is expanding the scope of its free Health Care Workers Stress Hotline to include any health care professional in South Dakota who might need someone to talk to about stress, anxiety, depression or other impacts caused by COVID-19 and other life events.

Avera previously launched a free 24/7 Health Care Workers Stress Hotline for its own employees. Calls are answered by a behavioral health counselor, and the hotline can be reached at 1-833-653-0515.

“Front-line caregivers have been through a lot, and this hotline can help those who might need to debrief or seek resources,” said Thomas Otten, Assistant Vice President for Avera Behavioral Health Services. “We hope it can help any health care worker deal with the personal impacts of the pandemic.”

The challenges of COVID-19 hit especially hard in the profession of health care.

“We realize that every nurse, provider and technician has been there for patients and families, and we want to be there for them,” Otten said. “Many health care organizations have in-house support systems, from peers to employee-assistance programs to chaplains and more. This hotline is yet another avenue they might use if they seek help. Sometimes an anonymous avenue is preferred, so we wanted to make sure that option was available.”

Hotline counselors will listen to callers, help them debrief and if needed, refer them to helpful resources in their community, such as an Employee Assistance Program or counseling.

“Foremost, we want every person working in health care, from human resources to materials management to clinical positions to know one thing: You are not alone,” Otten said.

Avera’s Health Care Workers Hotline was modeled on one that was developed to aid workers in agriculture over the last few years, when flooding and other conditions led to difficult times in that industry.

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