Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to announce and invite you to participate in a new project aimed at helping frontline healthcare workers impacted by COVID19 locate pro bono psychological support from local licensed mental health professionals in private practice. We are writing to ask you to consider volunteering your time.

Our goal is to provide online support and/or therapy to any workers who want it, in a flexible format adapted to the extreme and unpredictable circumstances and demands they will be facing. To do so, we have created a database and calendar tool that enables you to sign up for the program and list your available hours in a manner that you can update at any time. Frontline workers will be able to use the tool to see which therapists are offering pro bono services and which hours they are offering, for ease of connection. Workers will then contact you directly to inquire about scheduling. The tool allows for each therapist to choose how far in advance they wish to be contacted, allowing for some therapists to choose to see workers on very short notice if they wish to offer that option.

We are asking that all participants be prepared to be maximally flexible in terms of their clinical approach in working with individuals who may have never been in therapy before and who will very likely be undergoing overwhelming and traumatic strain in the moment. We anticipate that many of them will be experiencing states of profound exhaustion, helplessness, hopelessness, grief, guilt, rage and loneliness. While we hope that workers will take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the same therapist repeatedly during the emergency, we are asking therapists not to implicitly or explicitly ask workers to commit to longer-term treatment. We will indicate to the workers that our aim is to offer short-term work so that therapists have maximal flexibility in determining whether to continue into a longer-term frame. If you would like to sign up for this tool, please begin by filling out this survey, which will upload your key information to our database. Once you have done so, we will send you additional information as well as access to the calendar feature.

In addition to individual sessions, we hope to offer a list of free remote support or therapy groups. If you have experience in group work and would be interested in providing this service we are very interested in your help. Please begin by filling out this survey re group work. We will then be in touch with next steps.

At this point we are planning to offer this service to local Bay Area frontline healthcare workers, starting with UCSF and quickly adding other area hospitals. There are also plans in process to expand or replicate this model and technical toolkit in other regions of the state and other states.

We appreciate your interest and we hope you will join us in this effort to support those who will be risking their lives to save the lives of others.

Best regards,

Elizabeth Rawson and Michael Levin
The COVID19 Pro Bono Counseling Project