Mental Health – Caring For The Carers

Contributed by: Jane Sandwood

Photo by Candice Picard on Unsplash

Every day, Connecticut’s 55,000 highly-trained nurses provide the expert care and medical expertise to provide continuity to the injured and chronically ill. However, with the huge demand placed on nurses, their own problems can sometimes fall to the wayside. It’s little surprise that one study, conducted on a selection of Australian nurses, found that 65% of nurses reported symptoms of common mental health conditions.

What can be done? Nurses are increasingly receiving mental health training and are likely to be familiar with effective treatment strategies. Mental health is best maintained through joint efforts and doing so will be the best way to care for those who provide their care to those in need.

Discussing the problems
One of the major barriers to effective mental health treatment in nurses is stigma. Breaking down stigma is a major focus of many mental health campaigns and forming meaningful relationships has been shown to be effective in developing mental strength. This can be difficult for nurses; as one study published in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing found, mental illness is considered unacceptable in nursing, creating a hostile environment for those diagnosed with a condition.

In Connecticut, institutions have taken a positive tilt towards this consideration. At Yale, for example – one of the countries’ finest teaching institutions for nurses – the Mental Health Center has active services for learners. This points to an encouraging development in nurses being encouraged to open up about their personal experiences. This is arguably the first and most important step – a willingness to speak out about shared mental health experiences will open the door to a greater level of personal improvement.

Borrowing from other professions
Psychotherapy is a growing industry in America. Increasingly, the average man and woman is looking towards the therapist’s office for everyday problems. The benefit of this is ironing out concerns before they become a problem and helping to gain a better sense of self. Connecticut is on the forefront of the industry, with its psychological industry approving psychedelic treatments among other developments, according to Psychology Today.

One thing that psychotherapy does well is looking into itself. Psychotherapists will commonly visit their own professionals in order to decompress information they’ve been privy to throughout their days. This has been promoted as a key way that nurses can help themselves, particularly mental health nurses. With the huge range of human interactions a nurse will experience in any given day, it would be unlikely that they wouldn’t take on any mental baggage. Referring to a trained psychotherapist or to another colleague is an important way to help nurses tackle mental health symptoms before they are able to grow.

Nurses do an incredible job, providing the shoulder to lean on when things are tough and a startling level of care to those who would otherwise be sick. However, too often they are left out of the consideration and their own mental health suffers as a result. Promoting destigmatization in the profession and encouraging nurses to share will be crucial to maintaining these heroes’ mental health.