INTERNATIONAL: Health Workers’ Mental Health: Addressing the Invisible Global Pandemic

December 16, 2022
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

STAT

Experts are calling for a comprehensive approach to supporting health workers’ mental health. Around the world, health workers face disproportionate stressors, such as exposure to suffering and loss, long hours, and limited resources on the job. These sources of stress can be compounded by public health emergencies caused by events such as war and conflict, natural disasters, and infectious diseases. Health workers may also experience more mental health stigma due to an expectation they place others before themselves and a potential career risk if they reach out for help. As a result, health workers may be at increased risk of suicide and mental health issues, which experts say must be addressed with a multi-pronged approach. At the individual level, a program called the Healing, Education, Resilience and Opportunity for New York’s Frontline Workforce (HERO-NY) is training health workers in self-care and stress management, and has been adapted and implemented in 35 countries. In addition to giving workers the tools to take care of themselves, health care leaders can help promote mental health in the workplace by fostering open communication and providing access to supports. At the systems level, local and national governments can support health workers by promoting mental health and making services available for all, as well as reducing the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spark Extra! Find resources for preventing suicide among health workers.