Home Health & Wellness Supporting Essential Workers: Promoting Mental Health Care in High-Stress Environments

Supporting Essential Workers: Promoting Mental Health Care in High-Stress Environments

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From nurses to social service professionals, essential workers often face an enormous amount of stress in their working lives. While it’s admirable that these professionals accept the responsibility for these burdens, it can ultimately take a significant toll on their mental health. 

Given the negative impact that these roles can have on the professionals who inhabit them, it’s becoming abundantly clear that it’s important to support these workers. Specifically, it’s vital to bolster mental health resources for these employees and encourage them to seek the help they need and deserve. 

Here is promoting mental healthcare in high-stress environments for essential workers. 

Providing opportunities to decompress

For many essential workers, such as nurses in challenging and fast-paced environments, it can feel like one has no way to decompress throughout the day. While this may seem inconsequential, over time, it can negatively impact essential workers’ sense of well-being. To avoid this outcome, it’s key to provide essential workers with opportunities for respite throughout their workday. 

Some effective ways to provide this space to decompress for essential workers include offering more frequent breaks, spaces dedicated to meditation, and even routine check-ins with organizational leaders. By engaging in these efforts, organizations convey the message that it’s ok to need a break from high-stress environments. 

As a result, more essential workers will be likely to pace themselves throughout their working day and take the time they need to keep their mental state healthy. 

Bolstering mental health services and resources

While it seems obvious that mental health care is extremely beneficial to essential workers in high-stress environments, many professionals in these roles don’t seek out the care they require. Many times, this comes as a result of stigma and a lack of access to these types of resources. Providing ample mental health resources dedicated to aiding essential workers can help ensure that this culture of not seeking care is combated. 

One extremely effective tactic in this arena is providing essential workers with free sessions with a mental health professional. Whether it’s therapy, counseling, or simply a space to vent one’s work-related grievances, this can help essential workers reach a state of optimal mental health.

In addition, organisations can provide their employees with access to a myriad of other mental health resources, such as tactics for relieving stress and practices for cultivating mental clarity. 

Training organisational leaders

In many cases, essential workers may show signs of stress or other more severe mental health ailments. Unfortunately, these often go unnoticed or unaddressed by organisational leaders, leaving essential workers to fend for themselves. To combat this common occurrence, organizations must train those in leadership positions to recognize when their employees are under significant mental duress. 

By equipping organisational leaders with the skills to recognize mental health ailments, they now have the power to provide help and care to their employees. This can come in the form of offering paid time off, setting up a counseling session, or simply having a conversation with affected employees. Ultimately, this can result in fewer essential workers experiencing severe mental health impairments and a more skilled group of leaders in one’s organization. 

Cultivating a culture of mental wellness

While the world has evolved significantly over the last several decades, there are still scores of work environments in which mental health isn’t a priority. For the essential workers who work in these environments, this can act as a reason to not seek out mental healthcare. 

In addition, these environments typically reinforce negative stigmas about experiencing and receiving mental health care, providing an even larger obstacle for essential workers to experience mental wellness. 

Thankfully, company culture can be changed. By engaging in some key tactics, organizational leaders can assure their employees that it’s both acceptable and normal to seek out mental health care. Some effective strategies for altering company culture in this way include openly speaking about mental health care and organizational leaders leading by example and sharing their own mental health experiences. 

In this way, essential workers can feel supported in their experiences and more comfortable seeking help from professionals if they need it. 

Essential workers deserve mental healthcare

Though most people are thankful for the roles that essential workers play in society, few take time to think about the mental health burdens they experience as a result of their professions. Thankfully, there are keyways to help essential workers get the help they require and reach a state of mental wellness. 

From providing more access to mental health resources to changing organizational culture to destigmatize mental health ailments, there are many effective ways to support essential workers. This being the case, any organization interested in supporting their employees and ensuring that they experience a sense of well-being should engage in these practices and put the health of essential workers first.

Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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