Healthcare work can be bad for your mental health - Tom Folley
We expect a lot from the people who look after us. Every day, at every level of the NHS and social care system, ordinary people do extraordinary work to save lives, ease pain, relieve distress, soften fears, and take general care of the unwell. These are challenging careers, stressful jobs, that are not always appreciated. Surveys from the UK, America and Australia draw attention to the pressures and workload that have caused increased flight from the profession – and that only increases the strain for those who remain. One conclusion drawn from these surveys is that low staff morale and wellbeing not only has an effect on job satisfaction, but also on patient safety. They suggest that the “holistic trinity” of mental health, diet and exercise recommended by specialists for the general population are in fact often lacking in the very people who are looking after our health. Healthcare workers are just like the rest of us, they suffer anxiety and emotional exhaustion due to workload and stress. Sometimes they need support, to regain their perspective, to address the stress, to rebalance their lives. This is where mental health organisations like The Wild Mind Project can help health and care workers to deal with the pressures at work. Programmes of related therapies, including mindfulness, art and nature therapy, can help lift their spirits, regain job satisfaction, and increase their effectiveness in the vital work they do every day. Let’s be honest, we all have a stake in healthcare happiness: if our doctors and nurses, our hospital staff, psychologists and psychotherapists, our counselors, social workers and charity healthcare workers are mentally and physically healthy and have a positive sense of their own wellbeing, they will be able to look after us better and for longer. It’s a win-win.