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Coronavirus Front Lines: $100K Donation To Support Mental Health

BOSTON (CBS) - Jay Ruderman was speaking with a physician friend recently, when he knew he had to help. "The response I got about how are things right now, was, 'we've never faced this much death in a concentrated time,'" said Ruderman.

To support these men and women, working in the front lines against coronavirus, the Newton-based Ruderman Family Foundation is donating $100,000 to Mass General.

"Our doctors and nurses and medical personnel are superheroes, but they're also human. As humans when you see people passing away around you and in really terrible situations and there's only so much you can do, it really takes a toll on your mental health.... Personal protective equipment is important, and masks and ventilators. We also have to look out for (their) mental health," he said.

An additional $10,000 will go to Boston Police – to support the mental health of other heroes bravely answering the call.

"Our first responders, whether they are police or EMTs or firefighters, have to show up to save our general population. Many times they are at risk. They don't know what they're going to see or what condition they're in," Ruderman added.

Based on urgent need, MGH will be utilizing at least part of the donation to launch an online, video intervention for front-line health care workers facing high levels of stress and work demands during the COVID-19 crisis.

They know from prior research that evidence-based resilience-enhancing programs can prevent or reduce the impact of highly stressful life events. Some of the donation to the Boston Police Foundation will find additional clinicians' hours to empower the Peer Support Unit, which provides treatment to any officers who understandably need this support.

"We're all patients, we are all human beings and we're all susceptible to the same kinds of fears and concerns. A gift like this does a tremendous amount; not just the money itself and the resources that can help support, but also the awareness that it helps bring to these issues," said MGH Dr. David Finn.

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