Kamala Harris photo

ICYMI: Vice President Harris Visited Children's National Hospital to Discuss Mental Health and Wellness of Health Care Workers

May 24, 2022

The Vice President highlighted the Administration's work to promote health and wellness in the health workforce and announced the Surgeon General's Advisory on Addressing Health Worker Burnout

Yesterday, Vice President Kamala Harris visited Children's National Hospital where she thanked health care workers and listened to their personal experiences with mental health and burnout. She highlighted actions the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to address the mental health and wellness of health workers.

Vice President Harris was joined by Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, and together they announced the Surgeon General's Advisory Addressing Health Worker Burnout, which lays out recommendations to address the factors underpinning burnout, improve health worker well-being, and strengthen the nation's public health infrastructure.

Read more below:

Associated Press: Harris, surgeon general, warn of health care worker burnout
[Associated Press, 5/23/2022]

Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy are warning of burnout among the nation's health care staff after more than two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the potential for severe worker shortages in the years ahead if the situation is not addressed.

Harris and Murthy on Monday are visiting Children's National Hospital in Washington to meet with health care providers and deliver remarks as Murthy unveils a report, "Surgeon General's Advisory Addressing Health Worker Burnout." It sounds the alarm over a projected shortage of "3 million essential low-wage health workers" in the next five years, as well as nearly 140,000 doctors by 2033.

"The nation's health depends on the well-being of our health workforce. Confronting the long-standing drivers of burnout among our health workers must be a top national priority," Murthy said in a statement. "COVID-19 has been a uniquely traumatic experience for the health workforce and for their families, pushing them past their breaking point. Now, we owe them a debt of gratitude and action. And if we fail to act, we will place our nation's health at risk." […]

The Hill: Harris calls for greater attention to mental health in hospital visit
[Morgan Chalfant, 5/23/2022]

Vice President Harris spent Monday afternoon at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., paying tribute to the country's health care workers and putting a spotlight on mental health in the industry. […]

"Your compassion I truly believe is light in the midst of darkness often, and you do so much to take care of your patients in their time of need, which is why I'm here to say we need to do a better job taking care of you," Harris told a small audience of nurses and doctors on Monday.

"I think for too long when we think about health care, we act as though the body just starts from the neck down instead of understanding we also need to address health care from the neck up — mental health," she said. "So, if you are struggling, please know you are not alone, that you are seen and that you deserve to receive the help you desire and the help you need." […]

Asked by a reporter what her message was to health care workers, Harris replied that she wanted to promote a greater understanding of the mental health impact of their work and call for more resources to address them.

"We're here to say let's understand what they're doing, let's support them and in part let's understand it's a lot. They grieve also. They experience pain also when they see human suffering," she said. […]

"I know this is a scary situation for our parents and the caregivers who are taking care of these babies," Harris said, adding that the Biden administration is working "around the clock" to ensure there is enough formula and that the issue is one of its highest priorities.

Spectrum News: VP, surgeon general call attention to health workers' burnout, worker shortages
[Austin Landis, 5/23/2022]

Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Monday toured a children's hospital in Washington, D.C. to highlight a new federal advisory that calls attention to health worker burnout and makes recommendations to improve those workers' mental health, with hopes of easing staff shortages expected in the coming years. […]

"If you knew someone who broke their arm, you would help them. You would make sure they went to the hospital to get a cast," Harris said. "We have to do the same when it comes to mental health. I think for too long our system has failed to understand the significance of this." […]

"We have asked so much of you over the course of these last two-plus years. Some of you held the hands of those who were dying on behalf of their loved ones," Harris told health workers Monday. " So there is an urgent need that we have, I believe, to address all of this." […]

ABC7 News: VP Harris to visit Children's National Hospital in DC for mental health awareness
[7News Staff, 5/23/2022]

Vice President Kamala Harris will tour and give remarks at the Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C. Monday morning in honor of mental health awareness month. […]

"Mental health challenges among our youth have also been particularly acute due to disruptions in routines, increased social isolation, and learning loss. Research has shown that social media plays a central role in increasing mental health challenges among young people — especially young women. Emergency department visits for attempted suicide among girls in 2021 increased by more than 50 percent compared to 2020. American Indians, Alaska Natives, Black youth, and LGBTQI+ youth also face a disproportionate risk of suicide," President Joe Biden proclaimed earlier this month. […]

UPI: VP Kamala Harris touts mental health help for burnout of healthcare workers
[Don Jacobson, 5/23/2022]

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday praised healthcare workers for sacrifices made during the COVID-19 pandemic and called for more help to assist them with burnout and other mental health issues. During an appearance at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., Harris said the duties performed daily by its doctors, nurses and staff, especially during the pandemic, illustrated the heavy burden of responsibilities faced by the nation's healthcare workforce.

"Your compassion, I truly believe, is a light in the midst of darkness, and you do so much to take care of your patients in their time of need," she said. "Which is why I am here to say we need to do a better job of taking care of you."

She touted the administration's efforts to "transform how mental health is understood" with an ambitious national mental health program to be funded under President Joe Biden's $6 trillion fiscal 2023 budget request revealed in March. […]

PBS News Hour: WATCH: Harris gives remarks on mental health after touring Children's National Hospital
[PBS News Hour, 5/23/2022]

Kamala Harris, ICYMI: Vice President Harris Visited Children's National Hospital to Discuss Mental Health and Wellness of Health Care Workers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/356085

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