Supporting Health Care Workers’ Mental Health

When an employee suffers a broken bone, he or she will call in and explain the circumstances and make arrangements for care. If that same employee suffered from a manic episode, chances are quite good that he or she would call in sick with no explanation. The stigma surrounding mental health prevents many sufferers from admitting a problem or seeking treatment. Medicomp understands the importance of treating the whole individual; ECG monitoring is often a vital component of monitoring patients with mental health issues.

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, known colloquially as “the Standard,” strives to instigate mental health discussion in the office. The effects have been nothing short of incredible. Without the added stress of worrying about others finding out their mental illness, those suffering from mental health disorders are able to freely exchange information and improve their work performance.

One hospital in Toronto, Ontario noted 41% fewer absences and disability costs when the Standard was adopted. A noted improvement in the interaction of patients with staff members was also evidenced. By recognizing the added stress of mental illness to a health care employee’s already stressful professional life, affected employee retention rates increased by 35%.

Consider the scope of mental illness: most individuals view mental disorders as a weakness or something you can recover from if you could just be happier, more active, or stopped worrying. By recognizing mental illness on the same level as a physical illness — would you come to work if you had pneumonia? — a worker is more likely to open up to employers and seek assistance when a mental dilemma arises. And not all causes are lifelong: a health care worker is 40% more likely to suffer burnout than any other profession, which leads to depression, lethargy, and a higher susceptibility to mental and physical disorders. Doctors are not exempt; more than 30% of physicians are clinically depressed, with only 6% or so reporting their status to their state medical board. Keep in mind that the patients these workers advocate for are not healthy, and nurses in particular are hired for their compassion. This characteristic easily leads to compassion fatigue and overstimulation of emotions. Add a 12-hour shift into the mix, along with overtime to complete records, and psychological health and safety become more than a simple distractor; they require immediate help.

The communication between an employee and employer must be open. The employee must ask for help, not expect help to be given arbitrarily, and in return, an employee needs to feel comfortable and protected in the workplace from any mental abuse. Stop the stigma of mental abuse in your workplace and keep your patients and staff physically healthy with more tips from the ECG monitoring experts at Medicomp. Call today at 800-23-HEART and visit our website any time.

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