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Coping as a health service during COVID-19

Dr. Mary Docherty talks about health services learning from this experience and being able to grow and develop after the trauma of COVID-19

Mary covered many key considerations in how health services, and other systems, can meet the psychological needs from COVID-19. We have discussed some of these throughout the course, such as managing difficult emotions in groups or at work. We would like to briefly address some newer concepts that Mary raised.

Post-traumatic growth

Post-traumatic growth refers to positive psychological changes following a period of intensely challenging experiences. As we’ve established many people, groups and organisations will have had these difficult experiences during COVID-19.

These positive changes can include improved relationships (we touched on solidarity last week), an improved self-view and awareness of strengths, and an improved perspective or outlook on life.

Research points to time and realistic optimism as key factors in allowing post-traumatic growth. We will explore this concept more in Week 3.

Pause for thought

Does this concept sound relatable? Have you or people you know come through challenging times and felt stronger afterwards?


Mary also touched on some of the key factors for developing as an organisation to meet these challenges. Learning in real-time as we respond to the psychological impact of COVID-19 on organisations is critical.

  • Leadership can ‘set the tone’ for learning as we face challenges.
  • This can be achieved through open and transparent dialogue to engage staff and those accessing services.
  • These activities contribute to organisational culture which drives behaviours and attitudes, particularly in challenging times.
  • Communicating clearly during these processes is critical, including the role of the wider media, government, and external organisations.
These are some of the factors that can facilitate or hinder an organisation from meeting the challenges faced by it’s workforce during COVID-19. Are there other factors that you feel are important? Join the discussion below.
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COVID-19: Psychological Impact, Wellbeing and Mental Health

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