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Delaware Nurses Association receives $500,000 in ARPA funds

Janice Chang for NPR

The Delaware Nurses Association receives ARPA funds to help boost nurses’ mental health and wellbeing.

The Association and the Delaware Action Coalition will use $500,000 from the state’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act money to develop free, easy to access, evidence-based tools and programming for nurses coping with various issues exacerbated by the pandemic.

Delaware Nurses Association executive director Chris Otto says surveys show the strain nurses in Delaware are under.

"A third of nurses across the state express feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, constant stress and worry and things,” said Otto. “And that same third of nurses reporting that they reached out and wanted support but weren't able to get it or had concerns over the confidentiality of that support being received maybe through an employer or other programs."

The goal for this funding is to build and sustain technology and programming in post-traumatic recovery and growth to provide those nurses the extra support they need.

Otto notes they also hope to break the stigma among nurses to ask for mental health help by providing a service where they can get confidential support.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the nursing profession hard, leaving nurses exhausted and needing extra support. And that’s led to issues recruiting and retaining nurses.

Otto says the hope is this effort will create additional avenues of support.

"That will reach all nurses across the state free of charge and serve as a connection hub for them focusing on mental health providers across the state using and leveraging existing platforms that the state has but make one specific to nurses to let them know where they can go to get support," said Otto.

Otto notes the model Delaware is using is based on a national framework from the American Nurses Association and other state models.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.