Front-line workers share how they’ve coped with stress of pandemic

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is highlighting the importance of mental health awareness during stressful times.

The series, called “Heads Up: Coping Through the Pandemic,” started about a year ago during the height of the pandemic. Wednesday’s event was hosted to mark Mental Health Awareness Month and touch base with people who have been on the front lines of the pandemic.

The panel included an ICU nurse, the head of the hospital’s environmental services department and the manager of a co-op grocery store in Hanover.

While the landscape of dealing with the pandemic has changed as more is learned about COVID-19 and more people are vaccinated, talking about mental health has gained importance, health officials said.

The three front-line workers discussed some of the challenges they have faced and how they have dealt with difficult moments.

“Getting outside has been helpful no matter the season,” said Zac Conaway, the hospital’s director of environmental services. “Any way you can safely get outside with family and friends and be able to be safe and enjoy the outdoors has really helped me.”

Getting outside, laughter and meditation were some of the ways the workers said they coped, and DHMC officials said they hope the series helps others who might be having a harder time still dealing with the pandemic.

Learn about more mental health events at DHMC here.