Top 5 Mental Health Tips in healthcare COVID-19 of all Types can use to cope during this difficult time during the COVID-19
Mental health is one of the most important healthcare topics. Since individuals in the healthcare industry are the first line of defense against infection, especially today’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, they must keep themselves healthy physically as well as mentally. Here are the of healthcare during COVID-19. Providers of all types, clinical and non-clinical alike, can use some help by simply applying some of these COVID-19 5 mental health tips providers to cope with the stress associated with the it.
TIP # 1 - Understanding Stress
A recently released article by Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School provides some excellent mental health insights for clinicians on how to handle stress at work. “How to handle stress at work” written by Nicole J. LeBlanc, MA and Luana Marques, PhD
The first they point out is to understand how your body reacts to stress. Most clinicians are well accustomed to the typical mental health stressors associated with the delivery of healthcare. However, the Coronavirus has challenged even the most adept professional from an emotional standpoint. It is worth reminding you and those that work around you of these three essential components of stress. Normal work stressors occur to everyone, no matter what job or career they are in that manifest into physical symptoms
- Elevated heart rate
- Faster breathing rate
- Tense muscle and then associated muscle fatigue
All the while, you start telling yourself, “I’m going to get fired if I make a mistake in inpatient care or make a mistake that hurts my patient, myself, and my team.”
If untreated, stress at work quickly can degenerate to the psychological symptoms called burnout. Warning symptoms of burnout are overpowering fatigue, skepticism, and a sense of distrust. Work-related stressors connected with burnout. Examples are having considerably too much work or too little autonomy, unsatisfactory pay, lack of cooperation between coworkers, inequality or lack of respect, and a disparity between workplace and personal values. Even the most seasoned Clinician is not immune to the effects of Mental Health stress associated with your work. These Mental Health tips for providers of all types during COVID-19 Coronovirus can overcome substantial challenges during this crisis
TIP # 2 - Stay socially connected with your colleagues, friends and loved ones
- Some workers may, unfortunately, experience avoidance by their family or community due to stigma or fear.
- This can make an already challenging situation far more difficult.
- If possible, stay connected with your loved ones.
- Digital methods are one way to maintain contact.
- Turn to your coworkers, your manager, or other trusted persons for social support- your coworkers may be having related events to you.
- More now than ever, we need to be addressing Mental Health tips for providers of all types during COVID-19 Coronovirus
TIP # 3 - Don't Forget to take care of YOU
Employ helpful coping strategies:
- Ensure rest and respite during work or between shifts.
- Eat sufficient and healthy food.
- Engage in physical activity.
- Stay in contact with family and friends.
- Avoid using negative coping approaches such as tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs
- In the long term, these can inflame your mental and physical well-being.
These top 5 Mental Health Tips for providers of all types during COVID-19 Coronovirus. But some other skills and methods could especially useful during this challenging time.
- Relaxation strategies. Relaxation helps counteract the physical effects of the fight-or-flight response. For example, progressive muscle relaxation helps decrease muscle strain associated with nervousness. To practice this skill, sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Working from your legs upward, systematically tense, and relax each major muscle group. Hold the tension for 10 seconds; release tension for 20 seconds. Each time you release muscle tension, think “relax” to yourself. This skill and many other relaxation strategies can help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
- Problem-solving. Problem-solving is an active coping strategy that requires teaching people to take steps when approaching a barrier or challenge. These measures include defining the problem, brainstorming potential solutions, developing an action plan, and testing the chosen solution.
- Mindfulness is the ability to pay attention to the present moment with curiosity, openness, and acceptance. Stress can be exacerbated when we spend time musing about the past, fretting about the future, or engaging in self-criticism. Mindfulness helps to train the brain to break these harmful habits. An easy to breakdown thinking about the past and worrying about the future is to remember this simple common phrase
“You will only get depressed thinking about the past and anxious if you try and think far into the future.”
In other words, focus on living “one day at a time” whenever possible.
TIP # 4 - When treating patients work as a team and support each other
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported in the value of working as a team that supports each other. Their article “Teamwork: The Heart of Health Care” sites a 2014 study in Health Care Management Review that “More than 70 percent of medical errors are attributable to dysfunctional team dynamics.”
As you will note, this report is well before COVID-19 was thrust upon the Wolds healthcare community. And the importance of teamwork is more critical more than ever. Some basic things to consider in the clinical work setting. Applying even some of these top 5 Mental Health Tips for providers will see marked improvement for all.
- Ensure excellent quality communication and accurate information updates are provided to all staff.
- Rotate workers from high-stress to lower-stress functions.
- Partner those with limited experience with their more experienced healthcare colleagues to ensure the inexperienced worker is supported.
- The buddy system helps to provide support, monitor stress, and reinforce safety procedures.
- Initiate, encourage, and monitor work breaks.
- Implement flexible schedules for workers who are directly impacted or have a family member impacted by a stressful event.
TIP # 5 - Make help available
In the face of the unprecedented challenges created by the COVID-19 Pandemic and the accompanying global public health emergency, the National Academy of Medicine’s Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience is giving its attention to this issue.
- If you are a team leader or manager in a health facility, facilitate access to, and ensure staff is aware of where they can access mental health and psychosocial support services.
- Managers and team leads are also facing similar stressors as their staff, and potentially additional pressure in the level of responsibility of their role.
- It is important that the above provisions and strategies are in place for both workers and managers, and that managers can role-model self-care strategies to mitigate stress.
It has never been more important than now to lift the stigma associated with mental health. Leaders can set the example by talking openly about the reality that these are normal feelings and that there are many confidential resources available to clinicians to help reduce this normal stress and anxiety feeling that they and everyone around them are feeling.
Resources Available for healthcare workers both clinical and non-clinical
Resources to Support the Health and Well-Being of Clinicians during the Pandemic
Global Health Organizations
World Health Organization
Fatigue (pgs. 47-50)
Psychosocial stress during outbreaks and emergencies (pgs. 50-55)
Personal protective equipment (pg. 100)
U.S. Government Agencies
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Highlights resources available for the protection of workers in business, health care, laboratory, and transportation settings
Includes information on infection control and personal protective equipment in healthcare and non-healthcare settings
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Disaster Distress Helpline (brochure)
SAMHSA Disaster App (including help for survivors of infectious disease epidemics)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Library of Medicine
LitCovid Literature Hub (Note: Search “well-being,” “well-being,” “wellness,” “burnout”)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
U.S. Department of Defense, Military Health System, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress
Associations and Organizations
American Academy of Pediatrics
American Academy of Physician Assistants
American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
American College of Physicians
American Council on Education
Webinar: Managing Well-Being During the COVID-19 Crisis (Note: Must create an account to view)
American Dental Education Association
A Pandemic Resource Guide for Dental Education (includes well-being and resiliency resources, Section X)
American Medical Association
Quick Guide to Telemedicine in Practice (includes billing information)
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
American Student Dental Association
Chaplaincy Innovation Lab
Coalition for Physician Accountability
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Physicians for Human Rights
Health Care Providers and Schools of Health Professions
Columbia University Department of Psychiatry and AllenComm
Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai
#REVAMP_CoV2: REVAMPing COVID-19 Individual and Community Well-Being and Resilience Campaign, initiated by medical trainees for health professionals
A hashtag (#REVAMP_CoV2) for social media, to share stories of positivity, gratitude, awe, and the inspiring acts that are happening all around us
An Instagram account (@REVAMP_CoV2) for updates, tagging, building community, a place to turn to seek advice or wisdom on how to be well during this time
A Facebook page (Revamp_CoV2) for all of the above
The Ohio State University, Office of the Chief Wellness Officer
University of North Carolina Department of Psychiatry
Peer-Reviewed Journals, Textbooks, and Trade Press
Annals of Internal Medicine
Cambridge University Press, Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry
Chapter – “Pandemics: Health Care Emergencies”
Disaster Prevention and Management