Mental Health Awareness and Care for Nurses

It's mental health awareness month in the US, and mental health awareness in Canada.

There's a noticeable increase in mental health awareness. For example, it's helpful when celebrities step up and share their struggles. It normalizes what has largely been either hidden or stigmatized.

Mental health is something many health practitioners know intimately. Both in what they see on the job, but also what they what they have to deal with themselves.

If, as a health practitioner, and especially a nurse, you don't take care of your own health, you're going to suffer. Faced with acute issues normal in a healthcare setting, like a hospital, increases the likelihood of mental illness.

High stress environments are a normal part of the job. However, the consequences of that environment need to be treated as normal too. Often, the results of losing work time and employees to issues such as anxiety impact the healthcare delivery system as a whole. What's both disappointing and incredulous (if you're the healthcare practitioner) is how little management acknowledges the problems.

From management, to corporations, to insurance providers, to workplace safety, mental illness still has a ways to go before it is recognized as in need of both proactive treatment (self-care), and space for healing (when illness emerges).

How many nurses, for example, suffer from mental illness yet can't claim that as a viable health concern to receive time off and insurance coverage for that time? How many are wondering if they're they only person who suffers from workplace anxiety because the issue is simply not addressed by management. How many are faced with management or environments that simply assume you work until you burn out and then are replaced?

The holistic care for employees in the healthcare, especially doctors and nurses, is lacking. We need to use the increase in mental health awareness to raise the prominence of adequate services and policies to protect workers as they continuously provide services in areas with a high degree of impact on one's own mental health.

What are do you do for self care? Share your insights.

What do you receive or see happening in your workplace both positive and negative?


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