Wilhelm Therapy > Blog > Covid-19 and Secondary Traumatic Stress

Wilhelm Therapy & Consulting Blog


As with seemingly all things, Covid-19 has changed the landscape of Secondary Traumatic Stress. That is happening in two primary ways: a deepening of the impact for those whose professions already expose them to on-the-job trauma, and an expansion of Secondary Trauma to a new group of professionals.

Healthcare workers have always been at risk for experiencing PTSD and other symptoms of trauma exposure related to their work. In a time of crisis such as this, their risk is exponentially higher due to longer work hours, supply shortages, increasing patient numbers, and fears for their own physical health. The long term impact on these professionals won’t be clear for some time, though we can expect to see the number of cases of burnout, Secondary Traumatic Stress, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder rise.

With Covid-19 those considered frontline workers in helping protect the general public from the virus are now themselves vulnerable to Secondary Traumatic Stress. They include people who work in retail, pharmacists, cleaning crews, and both food and delivery staff. This group typically has not had to contend with trauma exposure at work, and may not recognize it for what it is.

One of the positive things happening in this time of crisis is an outpouring of content and coverage regarding mental health and the challenges essential workers and the general public are facing. That is a good thing, and hopefully it will continue. During this time it’s essential that we all pay as much attention to our mental health as we are our physical well-being.

To help those suffering during this crisis, we are now providing free virtual therapy to those impacted by Covid-19.