Job Medic recently hosted a survey about mental health support for healthcare workers, and found some very interesting, but to me not surprising, results.
Almost half of Brits (43%) struggle with the emotionally-straining aspect of their job role
This statistic didn’t surprise me at all, as from my own experience working as a hospital midwife, I can honestly say I’ve struggled many times with the emotional element of my job. Being a healthcare worker means you can’t close your laptop at the end of the day and switch off from work. You deal with life and death, make life-changing decisions and take on the responsibility of the health of women and babies every minute of your shift, so it’s not easy to switch off from that once you’ve walked away from the hospital. Not only is healthcare work physically draining, but the emotional aspect of your day-to-day tasks can easily start to take its toll.
Over a third of healthcare workers say their mental health has deteriorated as a direct result of their job, and over 40% have taken time off at least once because of this, and 20% of people haven’t taken time off but felt like they needed to.
These results were very alarming for a number of reasons. 40% is nearly half of the participants in this survey, meaning that nearly half of healthcare workers are struggling with their mental health to the extent that they cannot face coming into work. It’s a well-known fact that working in this type of job role is stressful – long shifts, challenging patients and lots of adrenaline-fuelled and emotionally charged situations. Although, some of these stresses are expected when working in a healthcare environment, the additional struggles such as inadequate breaks, staffing levels and a heavy workload can make a stressful job ten times more stressful than it needs to be. It’s also even more worrying that 20% of healthcare workers feel they need to take time off but they can’t. Although the stigma around mental health has dramatically reduced in recent years, I think it’s still difficult for people to admit they’re not coping and that they need help. Stress can come out in a variety of different physical and psychological symptoms, including difficulty in decision-making and concentrating, two very important skills needed in a healthcare role. If healthcare workers are not functioning properly, they can’t care for their patients properly, so this is a very serious issue.
86% of healthcare workers feel the healthcare industry needs to do more to support their mental health .
So what mental health support is available to healthcare workers currently? Clearly from these results, the support is simply not enough. Most NHS workplaces provide wellbeing and mental health support through their occupational health department in a variety of different forms such as counselling, wellbeing and resilience days and individual working plans such as flexible working hours. However, NHS staff need more services and specialised mental health support than the average work place due to the nature of our job roles and environment. The government have pledged in February this year that better mental health support will be provided to NHS staff including a 24-hour support line, fast-track to mental health services, post-incident support and a designated “ workforce well-being guardian”. If these plans go ahead, I believe that healthcare workers will have the mental health support they need and deserve when working in such a tough environment, and will hopefully be better equipped to enjoy the job roles they have chosen.
For more information about the job medic survey results click here:
Signs and symptoms of stress:
The government’s plan for mental health support for healthcare workers:
Love Lottie x
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