American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes


COVID-19 Induced a Second Crisis: The Mental Health Pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic 15 weeks ago. As health care professionals in China, Italy, and South Korea battled COVID-19, while the novel virus was spreading to the rest of the world, the psychological impact of COVID-19 was taking its toll on health care professionals battling the virus and those preparing to do so.

Burnout, fatigue, stress, and other mental health issues have been prevalent in the health care professions for many years. In fact, 52 percent of surgeons report experiencing burnout. Chronic workplace stress, depletion of energy and exhaustion, increased mental distance from your job or negative feelings toward your work, and reduced professional efficacy are characteristics of burnout, according to the WHO.

COVID-19 altered workplace standards, practices, and policies. Surgeons were redeployed to critical care and other specialties and had to rethink the practice of surgery. With burnout and other negative symptoms already present in the health care profession, COVID-19 induced a second pandemic—a mental health pandemic. The attention to well-being and mental health needs to accompany the battle against COVID-19. This attention to health care workforce well-being and mental health is important regardless of racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identity and calls on all surgeons to lead at the frontlines.

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) remains committed to providing tools and resources to support you throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

One step you can take today is to use the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Surgeon Well-Being Index. This video guide is a useful resource for understanding how to use the Well-Being Index. To start using the tool, Associate Fellows and Fellows can use the code fellow20 and resident surgeons can use the code resident20. As always, the Well-Being Index is 100 percent anonymous. Your information and score are private and your individual score will not be shared with anyone, including the ACS. Access for international members is not yet available.


A Second Pandemic: Mental Health Spillover from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Source: Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association
Provider Resilience: Assessing Compassion Fatigue and Cultivating Well-Being in Challenging Times (COVID-19) Source: MAHEC
Psychological Trauma Is the Next Crisis for Coronavirus Health Workers Source: Scientific American
Preparing for COVID-19-Induced PTSD Among Health Care Providers Source: Psychiatry & Behavioral Health Learning Network
Hospitalist well-being during the COVID-19 crisis Source: The Hospitalist
In a COVID-19 world, pace yourself to stay resilient and avoid burnout Source: MHS
Lockdown is the world's biggest psychological experiment—and we will pay the price Source: World Economic Forum

Health Care Workforce

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and Beyond: Micropractices for Burnout Prevention and Emotional Wellness Source: JACR
Suicides of two health care workers hint at the Covid-19 mental health crisis to come Source: STAT
Losing Patients to COVID-19 and Managing Grief Source: The Cleveland Clinic
7 Tips for Managing Stress, Burnout During the COVID-19 Crisis Source: General Surgery News

Additional Articles, Resources, and Webinars

Road to Resilience Podcast Source: Mount Sinai Hospital
We Are Doctors Who Study Trauma. Here’s How to Cope With the COVID-19 Crisis. Source: Huffington Post
Supporting Clinician Well-Being During COVID-19,” on Thursday, May 7th from 1:30–3:00 PM ET Source: NAM

Stress Management during COVID-19

Annals of Internal Medicine, Inpatient Notes: Preparing for Battle: How Hospitalists Can Manage the Stress of COVID-19