As professional workers we strive to help others and to make a difference. We are motivated to help and passionate about doing meaningful work.
Often though, these situations faced can be difficult, stressful and challenging. We often practice in increasingly tough environments, with continuous rising demands and falling resources. Regardless of what may be going on in our own personal lives, we still continue to listen, empathise and help. Regularly, we hear about very distressing experiences form our clients, the trauma from serious life experiences and we have to shoulder the distress to help that person make sense of what is happening for them. On top of this most people can hold heavy caseloads with unpredictable and long hours, often with that feeling of never ever catching up.
This not only affects our emotional stress but has a bearing on our physical health too. This can leave us feeling tense from the anxiety that we experience.
If we carry that emotional distress around, which can be for a long period of time, this can start to have an effect on our emotional and physical well-being. This can have an impact on our mental health if we do not take care.
Research shows that self- care and compassion are fundamentals tools in care giving professions. They help build our resilience. Finding that time for yourself is important as life can be busy in and out of work. Taking time out to relax, to enjoy that hobby you love, to spend time with a friend are all important to our well-being.
Taking moments to check in with yourself, to look at what thoughts are going through our mind, to start to challenge our unhelpful thoughts, beliefs if you feel things are starting to feel not quite right.
If you are feeling this way or see signs that this may be happening it is important that you seek out someone to speak to that you trust. This can be a supportive friend or work colleague, a manager or contacting your G.P for advice and guidance for professional help.
Your work place should have employee well-being counselling in place which you can access. Having someone to listen and hear what about how you are feeling and able to give that impartial support is vital for everyone. It is a good start to looking after and maintaining good mental health.
Self-help support is another resource available and may be a way to start to address how your emotional distress is impacting on your you. You will be the one to know what resource will be more suited to helping you.
We are so used to helping others that it can be difficult to admit we are finding things tough.
If you would like to speak to someone close to you about your mental health or to speak with your GP here are some suggestions that may be of benefit to you. Therapy may be something that can help you to improve your mental health.
You can be referred through your G.P or your work will be linked to employee wellbeing assistance programme, where short term therapy sessions can be offered to you.
Some things that we can all do to take better control over our mental health are:
Please find below some organisations and links you can contact if you want to speak to someone confidentially for support.
For immediate help: NHS 24 – Telephone -111 or Website – nhs24.com
For support and advise for health and care staff - www.promis.scot
To speak to someone: Breathing space - 0800 83 85 87 (Monday to Thursday, 6pm – 2am; Friday 6pm to Monday 6am) breathingspace.scot
Sleep Improvement & Anxiety Management App – Sleepio (free for health and care staff)
More resources: Mental Health at work website.
Wellbeing modules: Silvercloud Self Help for Wellbeing - To access the Silvercloud Self Help platform, use PIN code: Scotland2020
More resources: www.mind.org.uk
Self-referral for talking therapies - NHS mental health