Healthcare workers and first responders experience unique challenges during episodes of disease outbreak and pandemic. Long shifts, infrequent breaks, societal pressure, new policies and procedures, decreased socialization, increased stigma, and fear of becoming ill, can all have an impact on one's ability to cope. These challenges can increase stress and anxiety. Here are a number of considerations that can support the mental health and well-being of healthcare providers and first responders.
Avoid unhelpful coping strategies such as tobacco, alcohol, drugs, as these can negatively impact sleep and mental health.
Connecting and talking with a colleague, manager, or other supportive people in your life is key to personal mental health care. If connecting with a colleague or family member isn’t enough, seeking assistance from a professional can help.
Partner inexperienced workers with colleagues that are more experienced and reduce isolation and risk for outreach workers by having them work in pairs. A buddy-system provides an opportunity for support, monitoring stress, and reinforcing compliance with safety requirements.
Your employee and family assistance program is available 24/7 to provide professional support. Connect with us, we're here to help.
Adapted from World Health Organization—Mental health and Psychosocial Considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak