Key Note Presentation by Tahnee Bridson
Healthcare workers experience burnout, psychological distress and suicide at higher rates than the general population. The stressors inherent to these professions have been magnified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hand-n-Hand Peer Support began as an idea but has evolved into a bi-national early intervention pre-clinical support service for all healthcare workers. Hand-n-Hand’s founder experienced shame and stigma firsthand when she was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa as a university student. She rose through adversity and defied the odds. Her personal experiences were the inspiration behind Hand-n-Hand – so that no one would ever need to go through this alone again. Participants and group facilitators alike have found involvement with Hand-n-Hand beneficial and personally rewarding. Requests for peer support continue to increase and longer-term funding solutions are imperative to ensure Hand-n-Hand can scale up its operations to meet the demand of the population.