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Jan 13, 2023

Tools for Human Flourishing: Care For Caregivers - With Leandro Chernicoff & Doctors in Mexico (video)

This TWCF-funded study will be one of the world's largest randomized control trials assessing the impact of mental health interventions for health care providers.

By Templeton Staff

Play the above video to learn about this ground-breaking program designed to help health care workers deal with stress.

The pandemic has taken a major toll on the mental health of medical workers. A survey found emotional conditions for healthcare workers during the height of COVID-19's spread were comparable to war zone depression anxiety PTSD. "It's interesting that as stressful and difficult a profession as being a healthcare professional is, they don't have explicit training on how to manage emotions, how to manage stress, how to manage interpersonal relationships, even though now we have so much science showing that we can train these skills," says Leandro Chernicoff, founding partner and Academic and Research Director at AtentaMente.

With support from the Templeton World Charity Foundation, AtentaMente has teamed up with the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to successfully pilot a mental health care program for health workers in Mexico.

The program aims to strengthen four key pillars of character strength that underlie wellbeing: awareness, connection, insight, and purpose. The program is primarily delivered through "The Integrated Stress Toolbox" which includes nine 2-hour sessions, in person or via Zoom. It also features a variation of the Healthy Minds app, developed by neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson, Founder and Director of the Center for Healthy Minds, which leads participants through additional lessons and practice. The program emphasizes such techniques as breath awareness, learning to have empathy, and active listening, all of which have been scientifically validated to help manage stress. "If you have these skills your mind is calmer, kinder, and clearer and you have a deeper sense of purpose with a deeper sense of altruistic intention to help others," shares Chernicoff. Participants in the program agree. When these tools were introduced to his team at Hospital General de Occidente, Dr. Guillermo Aréchiga Ornelas says "they were like a balm. Problems are still there...but what has changed is the way our team addresses these problems."

The program is currently being implemented in Mexico, and the goal is to expand it to other parts of Latin America in the next 5-10 years. The team is about to embark on a rigorous scientific evaluation of their program. With TWCF funding, they will study data collected from 4,000 healthcare workers in five Mexican states who they've assigned to participate in the program. This study will be one of the world's largest randomized control trials to assess the impact of mental health interventions with health care providers.

To learn more, watch the video with the above player.

Learn more about the TWCF-funded research project related to this episode.

Play the related podcast.

Templeton World Charity Foundation’s “Stories of Impact” videos by journalist and senior media executive Richard Sergay feature human stories and critical perspectives on breakthroughs about the universe’s big questions. The inspiring narratives and observations in these award-winning videos portray the individual and societal impacts of the projects that bring to life TWCF-supported research.