Rutgers launches new support hotline to help nurses struggling amid pandemic

 Nurse phone
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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (WCBS 880) — The COVID-19 pandemic has been crushing for health care workers, not just physically, but emotionally.

Now, the Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care National Call Center and the New Jersey Nursing Initiative have teamed up to launch Nurse2Nurse, a new support hotline for nurses experiencing mental health issues.

"As a result of the pandemic, almost two-thirds of nurses are feeling overwhelmed, over 50% of nurses are feeling or expressing feelings of anxiety," said Matthew Buragina, who supervises the program.

The confidential peer support helpline connects nurses feeling the strain of being on the frontline to retired or former nurses trained in mental health services.

"They are calling a fellow nurse," said Barbara Brilliantine, a peer support specialist and nurse. "So you are aware when you are calling up that this nurse knows what it's like to walk in your shoes."

The counselors are trained to offer resources or just lend an ear.

The phone number is 844-687-7301 and the call center is available to the state's 200,000 nurses and their family members Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to  8 p.m.

Nurse2Nurse also provides wellness webinars and other resources on its website www.nurse2nursenj.com.