Home » Blog » Mental Health in Covid Crisis of Healthcare Heroes
It’s one thing to live in turbulent times, but it takes greater fortitude to bear the news and statistics.
On May 2, 2021, a resident physician at a private hospital in Delhi committed suicide due to severe stress caused by the pandemic’s deadly second wave. It was routine for him to have to deal with seven to eight patients a day, because every day was critical. As a result, the doctor experienced severe depression as time went on and more patients died.
This emphasises the enormous emotional strain involved in managing the Covid crisis. And this is just one headline among many. Globally, the anguish of actuality is palpable.
To raise awareness, the WHO Regional Office for Europe produced a short film featuring health care workers discussing the mental health and well-being challenges they faced while caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of their campaigns let’s use the social tiles to show our support to the healthcare community.
Apart from the physical toll the pandemic is taking on societies worldwide, studies warn of the pandemic’s negative impact on people’s mental health. As of date, it appears to have the most major side effects to raise levels of stress or anxiety, to cause stress and feelings of loneliness, insomnia, and depression.
Frontline healthcare workers, particularly those at hospitals experiencing patient surges, have been confronted with a perplexing disease that they do not fully understand how to treat, as well as multiple deaths in a single shift.
We are in the year one of the pandemic, and we asked the most crucial question to life coaches: “How do we help our healthcare professionals to heal?”
When you’re on the front lines—whether it’s in a grocery store, hospital, delivery truck, pharmacy, or clinic—you can’t afford to be at home. There is no way to avoid all contact with others. Because you are literally living in the news, avoiding consumption of world events may seem futile.
Before you panic and throw your phone out the window, stay with us: There are numerous resources available to you. We spoke with psychologists and therapists to determine the most effective coping mechanisms and strategies for all you frontline superheroes. And before we proceed, allow us to state the obvious. That’s amazing of you. You are the bearers of hope and we express our gratitude.
Most deaths from COVID-19 currently occur in hospital. Depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicide among healthcare workers is, sadly, not a new phenomenon.
Prior to the pandemic, a study by Trusted Source found that almost 16 percent of emergency room physicians met the criteria for PTSD.
In the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICU has been described as the “frontline of a war” against the disease, with clinicians the “soldiers in the trenches.” Frontline staff are at risk of secondary or vicarious trauma, as a result of repeated empathic engagement with sadness and loss, as well as moral injury,resulting from actions, or the lack of them, which violate one’s moral or ethical code. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic distress.
Seeing patients and feeling helpless puts the frontline fighters in need of hiring a coach or a mental health professional.
Professionals suggest self-care strategies and individual “resilience tools” such as mindfulness and reflective practice are insufficient. Resilience should not become another responsibility of staff working in traumatic conditions but requires an organizational and systemic response.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why healthcare workers — especially doctors — don’t seek professional help for mental health issues.
Too often mental health issues are seen as a sign of weakness in a profession where “resiliency” is a prized trait.
But there are more concrete reasons for not seeking help. Some state licensing boards and job applications ask if the doctor has “ever had mental health treatment. With healthcare workers already in a dire mental health crisis, and with few options for getting help, a deadly pandemic of a new virus is a recipe for an even worse mental health crisis.
Hospitals do seem aware of the likelihood that healthcare workers struggle with trauma-related disorders during and in the wake of a pandemic. Doctors and nurses see more deaths
Many have hired mental health professionals to meet with any staff who want to talk about their feelings.
The complexities of a prolonged response to COVID-19 will stress hospital employees, including caregivers, support staff, management, and preparedness teams, and leadership must reinforce the importance of self-care as the core of the response. Individual coping strategies and self-care, institutional interventions such as specific training and support, as well as social and psychological support, can all help to alleviate psychological strain.
It is not for us to quantify how difficult it must be for them to make difficult decisions regarding patient care and staff safety. It is critical to emphasise the importance of mutual support and how their jobs’ demands have taken a toll on their mental health and well-being, presenting as guilt, worry, and stress, insomnia, nightmares, stigma, and discrimination.
It has been demonstrated that having a life coach who can assist you in aligning your thoughts is effective. Here are some ways that healthcare workers can cope more easily.
Here’s your reminder from the experts to protect your immune system and maintain your energy so you can manage your stresses—knowing that the other tactics won’t work if you don’t do these things first. “In times of extreme stress and heightened nervous system responses, it’s crucial to get primal and tend to your most basic animal needs,” said holistic psychotherapist Kathleen Dahlen deVos, L.M.F.T.
You must periodically flush these stress hormones from your system by signalling to the body that it is safe to relax. This is what it means to be at the end of the stress cycle. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this is to simply go for a short walk, and for very primal reasons. You wouldn’t walk if you were being chased by a bear. As a result, your brain concludes that if you’re walking, you must be ‘out of the woods,’ so to speak. This means that it is safe to switch from fight-or-flight mode to ‘rest and digest’ mode.”
Divide Your Attention. You do not have to complete all of your tasks on the same day. Perhaps one day you’ll get a full night’s sleep and then be able to walk home from work the next day. Remind yourself that even a small contribution to your physical or emotional health will make a difference, even if it’s just stepping outside for three deep breaths during a break.
If you’re stressed for a variety of reasons, it’s a good idea to examine and acknowledge where your feelings are coming from. People who are quarantined or sick, or who have a partner or family member who is sick, experience different types of stress than essential workers. Identifying the specific sources of your stress can assist you in determining the best coping strategy to use.
Determine one or two of the most stressful factors. Then ask yourself, “Is there anything I can do, directly or indirectly, to reduce the stress associated with these sources of concern?”
You are a superhero, without a doubt, but you are not superhuman—you will not be able to continue helping others while also making money for yourself and your family. If you overextend yourself. You may be zealous about assisting and assisting where you can, but in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed and burnt out, it’s critical to self-monitor for signs of depletion/exhaustion or burnout.
This also includes how far you push yourself at home. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when you need it. Communicate, and keep in mind that you are a human being. And all humans seek support from time to time.
In the current pandemic, it is critical to understand the risk of trauma and moral injury to professionals. These health-care professionals work long hours and are away from their families. All of these factors have been shown to exacerbate psychological morbidity: loss of social and community networks, living alone, and loss of income.
At the moment, we’re all attempting to solve problems we didn’t realise were possible, and it’s fairly common to seek assistance from coaching. A pandemic on a global scale can be a significant source of anxiety and concern. However, we are all in this together. Feeling strange at the moment is a natural reaction. Sensitize yourself to strong emotions, such as grief, and do not ignore them, but also keep in mind that these, too, will pass. Your life will eventually return to normal and you will no longer be subjected to such extreme stress. There is reason to believe that things will improve tomorrow.
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23rd June, 2021
7:30 PM (IST)
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