May 2020

The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the undersigned organizations representing approximately 5 million of our nation’s nursing professionals, including advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), we write to urgently request support for nurses serving on the frontline of our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. We are gravely concerned about the psychological health and well-being of nurses and other front-line staff during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and ask the Administration to take these concrete steps to provide psychological first aid:

1) Direct federal disaster behavioral health agencies and staff to develop resources to aid nurses and other health care professionals during the COVID-19 public health emergency;
2) Activate U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Mental Health Teams and Service Access Teams to address the psychological impacts of COVID-19 on nurses and other health care professionals;
3) Deploy Military Disaster Mental Health teams and behavioral health service members to heavily impacted areas to provide psychological assistance and care to civilian nurses and other healthcare workers.

We appreciate your Presidential Proclamations designating May 6th as National Nurses Day and May as National Mental Health Awareness Month. These proclamations recognize the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the mental and psychological health of nurses and their communities. As you know, nurses in many specialties are the primary providers of patient care, and their psychological health and well-being are essential to addressing the COVID-19 public health crisis. Nurses are not only ‘first responders’ but also ‘sustained responders’ for patients and their families, which places them at greater risk for compassion fatigue, emotional exhaustion, burnout, depression, substance use disorders, and suicide.

Research has documented… view full letter here