Health workers take on so much – they are tireless caregivers; advocates; and confidants, often undertaking a considerable amount of emotional pressure in their jobs. This couldn’t be truer during the pandemic, and health workers around the world are feeling the strain. A recent study shows that more than 33% of nurses stated their mental health as bad or very bad, underscoring the concern that the current pandemic will lead to an increase of stress and job burnout among health care workers.
The World Health Organization has called for a scaling-up of mental health services in response to COVID-19, describing the pandemic as “an opportunity to build a mental health system that is fit for the future.” It advocates shifting care away from institutions to communities and building the human resource capacity to deliver quality mental health and social care. Given the projected healthcare worker shortages of 18 million worldwide, the resilience and mental wellbeing of frontline health workers themselves is paramount, as they are the cornerstone of a strong and resilient health system.
This #WorldMentalHealthDay, here are three ways to address frontline health worker burnout, based on what we’ve learned from our partnerships and programs so far: