According to the CDC, mental health “includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It also helps how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.” Problems with psychological imbalances like anxiety, depression, and excess stress can all lead to feelings of isolation, less productivity, and a decreased quality of life.
Current society includes pressures unique from the decades before, including a surplus of information coming from media and social networks and a more fast-paced lifestyle. Among mental health professionals, this can further impact their ability to work in an already stressful environment. In fact, the CDC has stated that “challenging work conditions put over 20 million U.S. health workers at risk for mental health problems.”
Luckily, if you’re currently working in the medical field, there are many resources available to help reduce the negative impacts of work-related strain and regain a better hold on your overall well-being.
The Importance of Mental Health
Did you know, according to the CDC, up to 93% of health workers report being stressed out, 82% say they are emotionally and physically exhausted, and 45% of nurses reported a lack of emotional support? Other studies during the pandemic reported that 69% of physicians experienced depression and 13% even had thoughts of suicide. In general, nurses, frontline workers, women, and younger workers all experienced the most severe symptoms.
Due to the draining effect of long-term work in this environment, many workers don’t have the time and ability to continue their typical self-care practices. Sadly, this also affects patient care. When healthcare professionals can’t think as clearly, react as quickly, and maintain patience with their patients, the quality of care rapidly decreases. For this reason, support and resources for healthcare professionals are of the top importance for the optimal functioning and care of everyone involved.
Common Mental Health Concerns Among Healthcare Professionals
Healthcare workers experience daily challenges that can quickly take a toll. It has become normalized for nurses and doctors to work long hours, witness traumatizing events, and still maintain professional composure at all times.
Alongside depression and anxiety, compassion fatigue can have a deep impact on workers. This condition is caused by seeing many traumatic events combined with burnout due to stress and exhaustion, later causing a decrease in pleasure in their work and a lesser ability to relate with patients.
Moral injury is another common affliction. It’s often called a “soul wound” and is caused by the need to witness or do things that harm their internal set of morals. Many healthcare workers find themselves in situations that require being involved in complicated situations and team conflicts that inflict deep harm to their psyche.
If You’re a Mental Health Professional, Check Out These Resources:
Below are some of the top resources to help healthcare workers find deeper support for their mental health during stressful periods.
Strategies for Improving Mental Health
Some of the top strategies for improving mental health in the healthcare industry include ways to create better work-life balance, provide access to mental health resources, the implementation of stress-management programs, and encouraging open communication among workers.
By hosting educational events for workers, the stigma around mental health in the medical field can be reduced and professionals can find personalized resources to assist them. At work, it’s best that the staff is regularly screened to determine their mental state and the signs of burnout are recognized before they get to a point where they are severely affected. They should also be provided with techniques to release the trauma they may have picked up from work.
For anyone in a leadership position, consider reading, Addressing Anxieties: 7 Things Health Care Leaders Can Do Now, to gain a greater understanding of to help your team today.
Healthcare workers are a pivotal part of society. Their well-being impacts the daily care of millions of Americans, and if they aren’t able to function at their best, severe cases of depression, anxiety, and other mental imbalances may occur.
Some of the best ways to improve the situation are ensuring that workers have easily accessible resources and an abundance of support, both in their workplace and outside support from fellow personnel. Healthcare organizations must prioritize mental health in the workplace, which can create a healthier, more productive work environment for everyone involved.