Mental Health is not a topic that anyone likes to talk about… but unfortunately, 1 in 4 people will suffer through a mental health episode at some point in their lives, as estimated by the World Health Organization. These mental health episodes can include depression, high levels of stress, anxiety, panic attacks, mania, suicidal thoughts, among other issues. As someone who has suffered through panic attacks, I know it’s not something to be taken lightly or brushed off. Often there is a stigma around mental health and many people hid their struggle in the work place- especially in high stress environments, such as hospitals.
While there is no evidence to indicate if health care providers are more like to suffer from mental health issues vs. other populations, the hospital environment can contribute to mental health episodes. After all, you’re supposed to be “super caregiver” all the time – always putting others before and above yourself. This can make it hard to be honest about how the demands of the work is affecting you. So what can you do? How do we break through the taboo?
Well first, you must release the pressure. This doesn’t just mean taking time out to relax and getaway; it can also mean actively taking steps to protect yourself. Flexible scheduling, allowing others to take OT shifts when you need a break, and recognizing the signs of mental fatigue and stepping away can help protect your mental health.
Once you’ve let the pressure out, don’t hide the truth. If you’re struggling, you’re not alone – like I said, 25% of us are right there with you. And pretending your mental illness isn’t there doesn’t make it go away. If you feel comfortable talking about it, do that – many people in your life may not even know you’re suffering. Admitting you’re having an issue is the first step to getting help and treatment, if appropriate.
Don’t be ashamed of having a mental illness – it’s just like any other disease and can be treated. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. Even if you’re not comfortable asking for help at work, seek assistance from a friend, trusted family member, or mental health professional. Not only are you helping yourself, you’re also helping to break the taboo about mental health.
We all want to be healthy and mental health is part of your overall wellbeing. Don’t neglect it!
Post by Olivia Portier – Travel Marketing Analyst