Behavioral health workers are more vital than ever in the midst of the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, yet these frontline workers are receiving even less robust support than their peers working in ERs and ORs across the country, according to several of the practitioners.

Mike Yestramski, a psychiatric social worker at Western State Hospital in Washington state elaborates: “Because we are not a medical hospital, we are not equipped or afforded the same level of personal protective equipment that we need to prevent exposure. Few workers have adequate protective gear.”

In addition, many behavioral health services include group counseling and other collaborative healing tools, all of which have been cancelled, “causing increased agitation, especially among clients who don’t understand what and why this is happening.”

Practitioners and advocates are calling for increased stimulus and assistance from both the White House and Congress in order to support and protect workers in the field.

Read more about the dangers and needs of behavioral care workers during the coronavirus pandemic here.