Mental health resources for healthcare workers in Singapore, Lifestyle News

We all know how physically demanding the role of a healthcare worker can be. Whether monitoring multiple patients in a day, providing appropriate patient care in a clinical or home setting, or providing wellness support to their families. These unsung heroes wear many hats in the workplace and often for very long hours.

When the Covid-19 outbreak was declared a global pandemic three years ago, it only intensified and intensified the mental distress and re-traumatization healthcare workers were already experiencing. There is emotional exhaustion, anxiety, burnout, lack of work-life balance, feelings of loneliness and isolation, and symptoms of depression, among others.

Although there are many studies that support this claim, you don’t need scientific research to prove this to be true. Just ask a local medical professional and let their experience show you the facts.

When to seek help and signs to look out for

As soon as something prevents you from functioning well at work and interferes with your personal life, it should be the first sign that you need to seek help for your mental health.

Unlike symptoms and physical ailments, mental health problems do not always manifest in ways that are noticeable to everyone. With the demanding nature of a healthcare worker’s job, it’s easy to overlook signs and symptoms, which could have even more detrimental effects on your well-being.

When it comes to mental wellness, some common warning signs and symptoms for healthcare workers to watch out for include:

  • Feeling constantly irritable and angry
  • Feeling constantly anxious and stressed
  • Feeling constantly physically tired and having low energy for long periods
  • Experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Have difficulty concentrating and contributing to most tasks
  • Having negative expectations of oneself
  • Isolate yourself and avoid friends or social activities

This list may not be exhaustive, but these are some of the most powerful indicators of burnout and mental distress that frontline responders should be aware of. Learn more about burnout in healthcare workers here.

List of support resources for healthcare workers

Wellness Resources

It is easy for healthcare professionals to forget to pause and engage in self-care practices due to the nature of their work. After spending all this time and effort taking care of others, now is the time to take care of yourself. If you need a timely reminder, this is the sign you’re looking for.

Here are some simple and easy ways to incorporate healthy wellness habits into your already busy life:

  • Incorporate healthy eating habits into your diet
  • Make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need at every meal by tracking your intake
  • Plan your meals in advance according to your shifts and avoid skipping meals
  • Relieve muscle tension from long hours of work with simple daily stretches
  • Practice consistency with your sleep hygiene by getting up at the same time every morning and going to bed at the same time every night
  • Download mobile apps that help you track your sleep and relax if you suffer from bad sleeping habits

Taking care of yourself from the inside not only benefits your physical well-being, but also manifests on the outside and has a direct impact on your mental health. Always keep these practices in mind and strive to make them a habit in your daily routine.

Here are some places where you can find comprehensive mental wellness resources to help you get started:

Professional assistance

Making the necessary lifestyle changes and taking the first step to taking care of yourself can always help alleviate any mental health issues you may be having. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. With that, seeking help from a mental health professional for your concerns is a practical option.

Determining what works for you is completely different from having a trained professional help you through the process. With their expertise and support, they will help you create a personalized framework based on your symptoms and equip you with the skills to help you through any distress or burnout.

Below are the local helplines and counseling services available to healthcare workers in Singapore:

Mental Health Helplines

  • Institute of Mental Health: 6389-2222
  • CARE National Helpline: 6202-6868
  • Singapore Mental Health Association Helpline: 1800-283-7019
  • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-221-4444
  • AIC Helpline: 1800-650-6060
  • Caregivers Alliance Limited: 6460-4400
  • Beyond the Mental Health Helpbot Label

Therapy and counseling services

Combined with personal wellness resources, getting professional help can make all the difference to your mental health.

Peer support resources

Sometimes having someone who understands exactly what you’re going through at work can be the most valuable resource when the going gets tough. This is where peer support comes in.

Healthcare workers can get the help they need from trained peer support workers who have gone through the same shared experiences and mental health issues. This form of social and emotional support is an incredibly effective tool for giving individuals a safe space to express their qualms about work and the areas in which they are having difficulty.

Frontline employees would be supported in a variety of ways, including group work, engaging activities, and one-on-one sessions, all of which aim to give them renewed hope and confidence as they navigate work life. .

In Singapore, these resources are becoming more common and available in most public and private health facilities. Simply contact your respective managers or employers to inquire about a peer support program at your workplace.

Support resources for caregivers

Just like healthcare workers, burnout and compassion fatigue are real. It is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion that is unfortunately common among caregivers and often leads to burnout, anxiety and even depression. It starts when a person unknowingly begins to neglect their own well-being at the expense of caring for someone else.

Connecting with caregiver support groups gives you the space to talk openly about your struggles and receive the help you need. These are resources aimed at empowering caregivers through several programs, peer networks, and even counseling services.

Community support groups

Online support groups

Tips for dealing with burnout and building resilience

A day is never the same when you work in healthcare. Stress and burnout can be like dealing with a long line of ER patients, working back-to-back twelve-hour shifts, breaking bad news to patients of a diagnosis, and the list goes on. long.

With such a physically and emotionally demanding job, frontline employees need to learn how to manage burnout and improve their resilience at the same time. But before finding the right solution, you must first know if you are dealing with warning signs like:

  • Loss of motivation or inspiration
  • feeling physically and emotionally exhausted most of the time
  • Feeling helpless and cynical
  • Increased feelings of self-doubt
  • Constantly feeling disengaged and having a negative view of work
  • Frequent isolation from family, friends and colleagues
  • Escaping personal responsibilities
  • Using unhealthy vices like food and alcohol to cope

If you find that your usual methods aren’t as effective at helping you cope, it may be worth considering other methods. Most of them start internally by changing your mindset and seeing things from a different perspective.

Try starting with these essential steps:

  • Identify your emotional reactions and triggers. This is the first step to help you find the right solutions to deal with it.
  • Practice mindfulness and positive self-talk in the face of stressful situations and environments.
  • Avoid being too critical of yourself. Working in the health field is already a challenge in itself; change negativity into neutrality.
  • Remember that making mistakes is completely normal. Use them as learning experiences instead of seeing them as failures.
  • Take timely breaks during the workday to temporarily relieve stress.
  • Consider talking to your manager and your employer and see if there are ways you can feel more supported in the workplace.
  • Get the help you need for your mental well-being

We see all the efforts and sacrifices healthcare workers in Singapore and around the world have made, especially with the ongoing pandemic. But as a frontliner, it also pays to show up for yourself. To take care of others, start by taking care of yourself first.

Whether it’s seeking professional help or making simple lifestyle changes to improve your daily life, all you have to do is take the first step and commit to improving. your mental health.

SINGAPORE HELP LINES

  • Singapore Samaritans: 1800-221-4444
  • Singapore Mental Health Association: 1800-283-7019
  • Care Corner Counseling Center (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
  • Mental Health Institute Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222
  • Silver Ribbon: 6386-1928

This article first appeared in Tribute.