Breaking the stigma: mental health among medical professionals
By: Maureen Doolan, Canada
Mental health issues can present themselves in a variety of shapes and sizes, and in many different high pressured jobs. So, it’s no shock to learn that people in the medical field often feel these feelings of guilt, depression, and anxiety much more than any other field. Since the early days of their training, doctors and nurses are taught to be stoic, apathetic, and indifferent. Meaning that when they go home for the day, they should be able to leave their feelings towards their patients at the door, but this isn’t always the case. So, let’s look at the different ways nurses and doctors can relieve stress and seek mental health support!
Talk to a friend or colleague
Talking to a loved one about how you’re feeling can help to clarify thoughts in your mind.
Choose someone who you trust and who will listen to you wholeheartedly. If you have a colleague who you are good friends with, consider talking with them, as nobody will be able to relate to you as much as someone working in the same job. Just remember, keeping things inside will only allow them to fester and become worse, so always talk to someone when you start to feel low.
Seek counseling or look for support
Your place of work, whether that be a clinic or hospital, might offer peer support programs, so it’s worth doing a bit of research to see what’s available to you. Alternately, some hospitals offer “psychological first aid” which is vital to supporting medical staff following a traumatic event. Furthermore, you can seek counseling outside of work! Counselors are trained in listening and offering confidential support, so there’s no need to worry about adverse consequences for your career or feeling embarrassed.
Remember you’re only human!
Doctors and nurses run themselves to the bone, working long hours and always putting the needs of their patients before their own. This will take its toll on you after a while, so when you’re feeling overwhelmed, just remember you’re only human, and you’re doing your best!
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