The coronavirus pandemic has had a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of most workers and employees, and healthcare workers are no exception. Constantly looking for a balance between work demands as well as physical and psychological health, their work poses serious challenges and health risks to healthcare workers.
This blog post will explore the challenges and risks healthcare workers face at work, what mental health problems they are likely to experience, and how it impacts their mental well-being.
General Statistics for Mental Health Problems Experienced by Healthcare Staff
Mental health problems could arise within any work environment, similar is the case with health workers. It is seen that the challenging work conditions put over 93% of healthcare workers in stress, 86% reports the signs of anxiety, 76% reports exhaustion or job burnout, leading to mild to severe mental health ailments.
These mental health concerns may include stress, depression, anxiety, abuse, violence, or aggressive behavior. It’s not just about the pandemic, these challenges are faced by the workers even before it.
Some of the prominent issues include:
- Long working hours
- Irregular work shifts
- Intense labor (physical & emotional)
- Exposure to disease
- Exposure to violence & aggression
- Exposure to human suffering the loss of death, and so on
Mental Health Challenges Faced by Healthcare Staff
As mentioned above, mental health issues are a major concern in most workplaces including the healthcare sector. Some of the major challenges faced by staff members in the healthcare sector are:
1. Lack of Support
A lack of support is one of the major issues faced by most workers in professional work environments, and especially so in healthcare. Supervisors and managers need to ensure that their staff facing issues get the required support they need. There must be clear communication to identify the problem so that effective controls can be implemented.
2. Financial Barriers
Financial barriers are also among the top challenges faced by healthcare workers. People often mention concerns about the cost of care or lack of health insurance they need to get professional help.
It is seen that 47% of individuals with mood, anxiety, or other mental health disorders have said that they thought needed mental health care but could not afford to get help, according to the National Comorbidity Study.
3. Disruptive Behavior
Another issue is disruptive, violent, or aggressive behavior that healthcare workers face quite often. They might also get some physical injuries while handling aggressive patients which may also result in stress, depression, or anxiety, leading to taking several days off work. So, this is also one issue faced by the staff.
4. Emotional Damage
Feeling emotionally exhausted is also a common issues worker face. Changes in mood, chronic anxiety, impulsive actions, and erratic thinking are some of the problems that could arise due to demanding work conditions.
5. Physical Damage
Mental health conditions also result in physical health issues as well. Weight loss, fatigue, and electrolyte imbalance are some common issues that may arise as a result of depression or chronic anxiety. Eating disorders are also a leading cause of the deadliest mental health ailments.
How to Cope with the Problem?
There are several ways to help healthcare workers deal with the problem:
1. Identifying the Problem
The first step in the process is to identify the root cause of the problem so that necessary steps with vital arrangements are implemented. Mental health disorders are among the top occupational hazards and should not be ignored. Because these issues if not treated over time can even cost an individual’s life.
2. Adequate Support & Care from Upper Management
Providing support and care from supervisors and managers show staff that they are a valuable asset in their workplace. It also shows them whom to contact in need.
3. Adequate Training, Information & Guidance
Raising mental health awareness is also one of the effective things upper management can do for their staff members. Workplaces must have a designated person on their premises also known as mental health first aider to help minimize health risks.
Some of the training sessions include mental health awareness training, mental health first aid training, sickness absence training, coping with stress training, fatigue training, workplace violence training, workplace harassment training, and so on.
To Sum it Up
Mental health-related issues and problems are some of the major concerns faced by many workers in almost every work type of environment. The healthcare industry is no exclusion reporting the signs of workplace stress, depression, or chronic anxiety.
This requires special attention, support, and care from managers and supervisors responsible for optimizing the health and safety of their staff members. Along with this, workers are also required to take necessary steps to overcome any issue they face, the best way is clear communication with the management.
This piece of content has covered some common issues occurring and work and preventive approaches to minimize health risks.