The Workforce

Ways of taking care of your mental health for Professional workers

Mental health – everyone has it and we all need to take care of it. There is a more over-all awareness nowadays regarding our mental health and how to look after this, through many different information outlets and resources available; however, despite this, poor mental health issues are continually increasing. Mental health problems can affect around 1 in 4 people currently in a given year. Poor mental health can happen to all kinds of people from all different walks of life and there can be many contributing factors. You may be looking for some pointers and guidance to improve your mental health or need advice on how to access professional help. This guide will offer you some mental health advice and support links which we hope you find helpful.

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:

  • Understanding our traumas, triggers, behaviours and thoughts (you can keep a journal, access therapy, read and learn about trauma and its affects)  
  • Understanding the brain – Understanding how the brain is formed and how it works can be incredibly insightful and help us to understand some of our behaviours.
  • Understanding our mental health – what impacts it? What helps it?
  • Self-care – taking care of ourselves is paramount to good mental health – our sleeping patterns, diet and exercise, our work load, all impact our mood. Identifying what you can improve and starting to take small steps is vital to looking after your mental health.
  • Time – Some things get easier with time. Make sure you have time to yourself to reflect and have time to something you enjoy – making time for yourself and prioritising your mental health is important.

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 –

For support and advise for health and care staff -

To speak to someone: Breathing space - 0800 83 85 87 (Monday to Thursday, 6pm – 2am;  Friday 6pm to Monday 6am)

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:

Self-referral for talking therapies - NHS mental health

Find local services: call or visit SAMH website - 0141 530 1000 e: w:

Related Guides

Practical steps for your own mental health as a professional

If you want to get started on improving your own wellbeing immediately, you might find some helpful advice in this guide.

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