PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - They're fighting on the front lines, and many of them are fighting their own stress and depression.

"It's a struggle, but I'm trying to push through," said Kara Geren, a Valleywise Health emergency medicine doctor.

She knows firsthand the mental toll COVID-19 takes on front line workers.

Kara Geren

"It's a struggle, but I'm trying to push through," said Kara Geren.

"It waxes and wanes," said Geren. "For me, personally, work is stressful, but it's come to a new normal."

Phoenix Psychologist Dr. Melissa Estavillo said many health care workers are facing depression and stress.

"Burnout is probably one of the first things they experience, of feeling they're just doing their job, still trudging away, feeling like it's harder to get it done, to have that same kind of energy to be able to do the job," said Estavillo. "Ideally, the solution would be for them to not work as much or for there to be additional staff or resources."

With the demand for more health care workers during COVID-19, she said that's not an option for many people.

"It's stressful for everybody, and I think part of it is acknowledging the stress and getting the help you need," said Geren.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Geren worried about bringing COVID-19 home, so she moved out of her house for a month.

"My husband and I, we were very sad. My daughter was very sad and depressed," said Geren.

She's back home, but she's still scared for her family's health.

"It just wasn't sustainable to not live at home," said Geren. "It just wasn't an option long term for anybody's mental health."


Health care workers shouldn't put off counseling and self-care.

"When we're disconnected from family and friends, those are the things that tend to fill us up," said Estavillo. "Digital and Zoom media are not wonderful substitutes, but they're something."

Estavillo said health care workers shouldn't put off counseling and self-care.

"If their mental health isn't as strong as it needs to be, then we know that, physically, their immune system is gonna be compromised, and they're going to be more subject to getting COVID," said Estavillo.


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