As a leading health staffing agency, Advanced Home Care Solutions recognizes the critical importance of mental health and remains a front-line advocate for supporting it at all levels. As an employer of various healthcare professionals, we also understand that mental health awareness and best practices begin in the trenches. At the outbreak of the pandemic, mental health declined sharply, and the long-term effects are likely to be even more far-reaching. Many leaders today are seeing employees struggle with anxiety, depression, burnout, trauma, and PTSD.
With today’s focus on mental health, it seems appropriate to pay some special attention to the frontline healthcare workers, and the how, where, when and why of maintaining their own mental health as individuals. It’s important to remember that we can’t expect these professionals to deliver the compassionate, dedicated, and skilled services expected of them if they feel unsupported. Let’s look at some ways that healthcare leaders and managers can ensure the best working environment for their teams:
- Spending long days in a demanding and stressful workplace is a recipe for burnout. Physical and mental exhaustion are real risks that need to be managed by remaining watchful and understanding of your teams. Stress the importance of taking breaks, going to lunch, and clocking out at a sensible time. Keep your teams energized and give them an opportunity to recharge.
- One silver lining of the pandemic is that it has normalized mental health challenges. Everyone was affected, and most experienced some level of discomfort (particularly healthcare workers.) The universality of that experience can decrease the stigma of those challenges, especially if leaders open the door to sharing their own mental health challenges. That kind of vulnerability is powerful.
- The best management-team relationships are based on mutual respect and open communication. Regular team and one-on-one meetings provide opportunities to monitor workloads, identify emerging issues and provide guidance and problem-solving. This type of connection lets your teams know that you value them personally and professionally.
- Taking things a step further than great communication, involving employees in decision-making and problem-solving can be extremely effective. Giving people a sense of ownership is a great stressbuster and morale booster.
- One of the best ways to invest in your team’s mental health is to ensure that you have an extensive understanding of mental illness. Educating yourself gives you the ability to detect early warning signs, be an effective and active listener, display empathy, and provide the right direction. These approaches help normalize mental illness and provide opportunities to treat anxiety, depression or other mental disorders like any other illness.
- Finally, modelling the behaviour you need to see in your team is powerful. Kindness always wins the day and tends to be consistently paid forward. Encouraging respectful and non-derogatory behaviours will lay the groundwork for a positive working environment – this includes eliminating negative behaviours quickly. The intentional maintenance of transparent, open communication, along with fairness and equity, will help to shape a dynamic workplace culture of true mental health and wellness.
Advanced Home Care Solutions’ background as a health staffing agency repeatedly demonstrates – in real-world terms – our commitment to the promotion of mental health initiatives. Let’s support our employees where it really counts – health and wellness.