Watch: BayCare Clinic team members discuss COVID-19 and your mental health

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

By: Alysha Schertz

For more than a year, the world has been dealing with challenges associated with COVID-19 and studies show our mental health is suffering.


Increased isolation, limited access to needed resources and the demand to constantly balance family needs and work responsibilities amidst quarantines and closures are just a few of the new stressors we’re all facing.


This spring, BayCare Clinic BayCare Clinic hosted a Facebook LIVE discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health. Presenters included Dr. Kerry Ahrens of BayCare Clinic Emergency Physicians; Dr. Peter R. Johnson, an Aurora BayCare gynecologic oncologist and Tony Violetta, director of human resources at BayCare Clinic.


Each panel member offered a unique perspective on mental health, wellness and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted and changed that landscape for them personally but also for the patients they see and the people they work with.


“What’s interesting is that during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic our volume (in the ER) actually went down,” says Ahrens. “But what went up was how many people came in with either suicidal ideation, attempts to kill themselves by suicide, or overdoses…. I’ve never seen it this bad in my career.”


According to one study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 4 out of 10 adults in the United States reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the pandemic, up from 1 in 10 in 2019.


“The pandemic essentially turned the American workplace upside down,” says Violetta. “It put additional pressure not only on employees but also on the employers in terms of how to deal with the myriad of things that all of our employees were going through as a result of this…”


During the discussion, panel members outlined areas of their professional lives where the COVID-19 pandemic really impacted the mental health and wellbeing of the people they see and work with. They also discussed recommendations for how they personally have dealt with the additional pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and shared resources and suggestions to help viewers cope with these additional challenges as well.


“We have to do what we can to provide our employees with the resources they need so they can be at peace in their personal life and also productive in their work life,” says Violetta.


Watch the entire panel discussion here.


Dr. Kerry Ahrens sees patients in Green Bay, Kaukauna, Oshkosh and Two Rivers. Dr. Peter R. Johnson sees patients in Green Bay and Neenah.

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.