Title : Psychosocial Support For Health Workers Ensuring The Mental Health Of Health WorkersIn The Mist Of A Pandemic
The arrival and the rapid spread of COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of mental Health and the critical need to create a mentally healthy workplace for the healthcare workforce. Healthcare providers and mangers in the healthcare industry cannot ignore the mental stress that covid-19 has presented to the workplace adding to the already existing psychological and emotional challenges faced by healthcare workers. Today, the healthcare industry especially traditional care providers are experiencing one of the most disruptive periods in time. The health workforce has over the years suffered both emotional and psychological stress related to providing care and restoring health of the sick and vulnerable in addition to the physical, biological, and chemical hazards they face in their daily work. The healthcare work environment is dangerous and exhausting and there is a ‘tough guy’ mentality which may discourage healthcare workers from discussing issues pertaining to mental health because of the false assumption that they can handle their mental health challenges better than any other group of workers. The aim of setting up a psychosocial support team for the hospital during the covid-19 pandemic was to help in addressing the emotional and psychological stresses that staff and patients faced due to the insurgence of the pandemic. The mandate was to offer biopsychosocial support to staff and patient who will be infected with the virus with a scope spanning from pre-test counselling, disclosure of results, support during quarantine and reintegration to the work environment after quarantine. Psychological tools used in assessing stress and coping levels included the DASS 21 for emotional assessment. Support and therapy were provided as required. The establishment of this team helped to reduce the psychological impact of the pandemic on most of our health workers and the public. Findings from our work confirmed that health workers go through a lot of psychosocial challenges with little or no support, perhaps due to the false assumption that they are capable of managing their own health. To help in addressing these emotional and psychosocial challenges of health workers, an employee assistance program was recommended to the hospital. Preparatory work to get this service established has been worked on awaiting approval and support by the hospital’s management.