It would be a huge understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a heavy impact on healthcare workers. Their capacities, always stretched thin, have been tested in ways most can’t imagine.
They’re the gatekeepers of ever-changing guidelines. They need to constantly enforce protocols and the wearing of proper PPE, and not just for themselves. They’ve been stressed out over giving the best care they can to an overwhelming volume of patients, and about protecting their own families. And they’ve had to hold more dying hands than ever, while patients’ loved ones had to grieve behind screens.
So it’s become all that much harder for healthcare workers to properly compartmentalize and leave work at the door. Many healthcare professionals, unable to get support at their pressurized places of work, turned to—or back to—alcohol or drugs in order to cope with the anxiety and stress. Even in a population that in theory “knows better,” substance use or mental health issues can easily sneak up.
But if something causes a problem—like an inability to do daily tasks, focus on work, or be present with your family—then it is a problem. The experts at Rosecrance suggest that even taking 10-second moments throughout the day—to breathe deeply, to reset yourself, to hug a loved one—can help ground yourself. And of course, reaching out to a professional, even for one session or conversation, can always help. Healthcare may be a helping profession, but like oxygen on the airplane, you may need to help yourself before you can really help others.
If you know a healthcare worker, including yourself, who is experiencing any mental health or substance use issues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, take a listen to series 4, episode 1 of the Rosecrance podcast “On Your Radar,” which covers the unique, significant impact of the pandemic on healthcare workers.
Download “On Your Radar: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Healthcare Workers” series 4, episode 1, HERE.