MSMS Michigan Medicine November December 2022

Nov / Dec 2022 | michigan MEDICINE® 17 SafeHaven™, which is implemented in partnership with VITAL WorkLife, provides a host of discreet and confidential set of tools and resources health care providers can access to stay well, avoid burnout, and connect to their purpose without the fear of undue repercussions to their medical license. Originally launched in Virginia, the program has been a huge success with over 4,400 members and 48 percent utilizing the program—an extraordinary and unmatched usage rate for an employer-sponsored physician wellness program. Gertrude “Trudy” Shahady, MD, a family medicine doctor from Lynchburg, Virginia, is one of them. “Prior to programs like SafeHaven™, I think a lot of physicians were very hesitant to seek out any sort of help with addressing any signs or symptoms of burnout or other mental health concerns out of fear of consequences from their employer or licensing board,” says Doctor Shahady. “That’s what makes SafeHaven™ so great—the confidentiality piece of it is absolutely critical.” Doctor Shahady’s decision to pursue help was prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the various pressures it presented. Overburdened by staffing shortages, the surge of sick patients, and, finally, those refusing to help themselves by getting vaccinated, Doctor Shahady finally hit her limit. “At one point, I lost three patients in one week to COVID-19—three patients whom I essentially pleaded with to no avail to get vaccinated in the weeks and months prior,” says Doctor Shahady. “By that time, I had already lost a number of patients and had seen a lot more really suffer with COVID-19, and that just felt like a breaking point for me. I could tell I was losing my motivation to keep plugging away on coming to work and pushing my patients to get vaccinated, and I was also having trouble sleeping. It was then that I decided to call SafeHaven™.” Just the initial phone call brought Doctor Shahady a sense of relief. “When you call, you are immediately helped by a master’s level person who is trained to assess and triage you, and as I was talking to this person on the phone, she basically told me, ‘I’m hearing this a lot, you’re not alone,’” (CONTINUED ON PAGE 18)