New Comic, Helping the Helpers, Gives Clinicians Strategies for Self-Care
Clinicians focused on migrant, immigrant, and other underserved patients must balance personal and professional stressors for their entire careers – but the pandemic added new weight and complexity, and many are struggling to manage. Increases in mental health conditions have been seen across the general population – and clinicians are no exception. Over half of clinicians report symptoms of at least one adverse mental health condition, which is higher than the general population. “Clinician burnout” has been the topic of numerous articles and news segments as COVID packed hospitals, but that term doesn’t break down what clinicians are really experiencing, including moral injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, in a critically overextended health system that lacks the infrastructure and investment to address these issues in its own critical workforce.
In this void of support, clinicians must protect their own well-being – but this increase in mental health conditions has slammed into clinicians’ lack of knowledge on how to address them. “We have had responses in peer support groups and on our webinars where health care workers sadly confide that they can’t think of one activity they could do that would reliably comfort them” when feeling overwhelmed or stressed at work, says Kaethe Weingarten, PhD, Director of Witness to Witness at MCN.
In response, Dr. Weingarten and Witness to Witness partnered with comics illustrator, public health educator, and longtime MCN collaborator Salvador Sáenz to build a new MCN comic book, Helping the Helpers.
Available in English and Spanish, the comic follows a day in the life of a clinician during COVID who encounters increased pressure at work as well as numerous home stressors, and struggles to find time to take care of herself. She talks with a colleague about her situation and together they brainstorm some basic care strategies. The comic ends with a page for readers to write down strategies they would like to pursue in their own lives.
MCN’s comic books are some of MCN’s most popular resources, covering diverse topics like pesticides, keeping safe while working with farm animals, diabetes, and more. All MCN comics are free of charge and available for download in Spanish and many are available in English as well.
View and download Helping the Helpers, MCN’s newest comic book, in English and Spanish.
Access all of MCN’s comic books.
Visit the Witness to Witness page to see many more resources in English and Spanish.
This publication was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $301,045 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit HRSA.gov.