Almost 400 medical professionals die by suicide per year, and that was before the pandemic. Medical professionals, like today’s Lift U Up: Inspiring Health Stories guest Dr. Naomi Jean-Baptiste, are experiencing something many haven’t before — and as a result are under unimaginable stress. Dr. JB has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one, and she identified needs that weren’t being met — mental wellness support for her peers, access to medical information for the public, and a need to reduce burnout rates in the medical profession. In today’s episode, Dr. JB tells her story of becoming an Emergency Medicine Physician, how the pandemic has impacted her, and why she founded Hope4Med.
Dr. JB’s Career Path: From Medical Student to ER Doctor
When Dr. JB started her path through medical school, she thought her calling was to become a pediatrician. After making it to a pediatric rotation and realizing that probably wasn’t the best fit for her, she started to rethink what her calling was. Before she was able to decide, her attention was pulled somewhere else. While still in medical school, Dr. JB witnessed her birth country of Haiti become devastated by a life-changing earthquake. Dr. JB flew there within days to act as an emergency medical professional and help those impacted by the natural disaster.
That experience showed Dr. JB how much she was passionate about helping in an extreme time of need. Though she didn’t pursue a career in international medicine, she did pursue the path of becoming a Board-Certified Emergency Medicine Physician in Florida.
On The Frontlines of Covid-19
Well into her career, Dr. JB was surprised with yet another life-changing emergency to deal with: the COVID-19 pandemic. When it hit, her friends and family asked, “Will you still go into work?” For Dr. JB, that was a no-brainer. She was trained to handle situations exactly like this, and wanted to provide care to as many people as she could. She’s lost colleagues and people close to her have gotten sick, but she comes back to work everyday because her patients need her.
Especially now as the delta variant is causing cases to soar, she’s seeing hospitals fill up yet again. She shares that the difference in condition between someone coming in who is vaccinated vs. unvaccinated is clear – and urges everyone to get the vaccine if they can. Most importantly? Continue to wear a mask to keep our community healthy.
The Surprising Fact About Mental Health in the Medical Community
When Dr. JB cites that almost 400 medical professionals die by suicide per year, and that’s before the pandemic, there’s no denying the stress and burnout these professionals can experience. Even for Dr. JB, going from losing a patient to turning around and needing to help the next one immediately, there is little space to work through the emotions of the day until they build up.
Shockingly, rather than having resources for mental health aid, medical professionals can actually be prevented from advancement if they report seeing a mental health professional, or admit to struggling with their mental health.
Why Hope4med was Born
When Dr. JB saw the pandemic turn an already-stressful environment into a nearly unbearable one — she noticed burnout among her peers grow. After the initial adrenaline of the first few months of fighting COVID-19 wore off, she saw the effects that these hard working professionals were facing, yet had no resources to manage.
Dr. JB founded Hope4Med as an opportunity to supply wellness resources to professionals who spend their time helping others, and rarely helping themselves. Hope4Med supplies wellness resources to front-line workers and beyond, as well as resources for anyone curious about the emergency department through conversations on her YouTube channel and podcast. Dr. JB shares her voice with the world to bring awareness to medical stress and burnout rates, and make an impact on countless first responders.
What else can you expect in episode 66 of Lift U Up: Inspiring Health Stories?
- Why Dr. JB decided not to take the path of international medicine and, instead, stay in the US.
- Dr. JB’s take on uniting as a community to take on the delta variant, and how serious we all should be taking it.
- The importance of gratitude on our daily mental health.
- How Dr. JB has processed her own trauma from the last 18 months.
Where to find Dr. JB and Hope4Med: