COVID-19 pandemic exposes health care workers to daily stress. So they need to maintain good mental health. Let’s see how they can manage that.
Health care workers are exposed daily to physical and psychological stress. They see suffering and death. Those things affect their mental health, so they need to resist pressure and try to maintain their mental wellbeing.
What Are the Challenges and How They Affect Mental Health
Several challenges complicate the health care worker’s mission during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- working with a newer virus
- work overload
- communication with patients
- the risk of infection to themselves and their families
- the need to care for unstable critical conditions
- care for their infected colleagues
- making difficult decisions.
The COVID-19 pandemic may cause health care workers:
- acute stress reactions
- low mood
- moral injury
- post-traumatic stress disorder
Acute stress reactions include the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social responses that happen when treating patients. Shortages in resources push health care workers to choose who to treat. This situation injures them on a moral level. Those factors affect their mental health.
As we see, COVID-19 hurts health care workers on many levels. To resolve this, we need to know how to handle and prevent stress in an attempt at maintaining good mental health. This is essential to continue patient care.
How to Maintain Good Mental Health
Health care workers need to remember that they are human. So, it is normal to get stress reactions, anxiety, and low mood. Hence, they must focus on their work and not be affected by these reactions.
As “the healthy mind stays in the healthy body”, health care workers must satisfy the essential needs of safety and rest. They should try to organize the duty and shift effectively to get rest time.
To manage stress and low mood, relax and try to do things you like. The following points are helpful:
- accepting the critical condition
- being positive while you’re working
- taking psychological training and support
To decrease anxiety, avoid focusing on danger, and stay connected with your family and friends. If you need help, ask your colleagues, family, and mental health professionals. When you need information, search in trusted and valid sources.
To avoid moral conflict, search and think sufficiently about the right decision, and remember that you must continue to work hard to help patients and not dwell on the past.
Role of Individuals, Team, and Organization
During this pandemic, anxiety and uncertainty will worsen the situation. So health care workers must control them. They need to rest from time to time to maintain strength.
Leadership during a pandemic is hard, but the team leader needs to be a good leader. Collaboration and communication between team members must be excellent. Colleagues need to support each other and share their knowledge.
Organizations support the mental health of their workers. They must analyze and understand the challenges they meet. Also, they must distribute workloads and shifts effectively. If a worker entered the guarantee, they must continue to support him.
Psychologically, COVID-19 influences the attention, understanding, and decisions of the health care worker. Also, it may lead to more serious psychological impairments. So, to prevent that, health care workers are recommended to maintain good mental health.
- Mental health care for medical staff and affiliated healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
- COVID-19 pandemic as a watershed moment: A call for systematic psychological health care for frontline medical staff
- Coping during COVID-19: Self-care tips for healthcare workers
- Psychological effects of the COVID-2019 pandemic: Perceived stress and coping strategies among healthcare professionals