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World Mental Health Day: Caring for the Caregivers and Prioritising Mental Health in Healthcare

Tuesday 10th October 2023

Our Deputy Nurse Manager and RMN, Karen, has a heartfelt message to share with all our nurses this World Mental Health Day.

We hope that Karen's self-care tips can help you to find moments of balance and rejuvenation amidst the demanding and rewarding nature of your nursing profession.

"As the rest of the world takes time to raise awareness of mental health and the impact that this can have on their loved ones, themselves, colleagues and those around them, I wanted to take a minute to reach out to all our healthcare professionals working in many different areas.

Especially those who work in mental health areas or who have experienced caring for someone with poor mental health. Not only is our job so very rewarding, it can be extremely challenging and difficult at times. We work with people when they are at their most vulnerable and work with people who have seen or been through adversity that so many people could never imagine. We support them, we listen and we do everything we can to help them on their recovery journey. When doing this we take on a lot of their experiences. We do this while working in highly stressful environments which demand that we give all of ourselves over to others to make sure that they are safe, they are cared for, that they are treated holistically and every part of them is considered in everything we do. There are millions of us who could not imagine doing anything else. However we need to be aware of the impact this can have on our own mental health.

With this in mind I wanted to take some time to remind not only our mental health nurses but all of our nurses, HCA’s, Allied Health Professionals and anyone working in health and social care how important it is to take time to look after yourself. Finding what works for you to keep your balance is so important.

Things to try for self-care:
1. Mindfulness – taking some time to ground yourself and to just observe what is happening for you right now in this moment.
2. Cognitive Behavioural Strategies – Your thoughts, feelings and behaviour are all interrelated.
3. Take time for yourself – practice relaxation, have a home spa day, treat yourself to a massage, take a walk, clear your mind and do what you enjoy.
4. Utilising regular supervision – ensuring you take time to express your emotions. It is important to remember that we are only human and our own emotions are part and parcel of this.

Here are some things I find that work for me:

1. Spending time with my family and friends. Allowing myself to take time for me and do the things that I enjoy.
2. Being able to rationally detach from the situation and checking in with myself.
3. Getting into my car after shift and turning the music up so loud I can’t hear myself screech along. It’s kind of like screaming into a pillow without the pillow.
4. Using the support of my colleagues. I like to “let it all out” and tend to have a little rant every now and again, sometimes I am not even sure what I am saying but I find it helps."

Just a note to our nurses we want you to know that the JustNurses team are here for you and are happy for you to contact us if you feel that having a chat and “letting it all out helps”.
Or if you are struggling in any way please don’t hesitate to reach out.
We see you, we understand and we support you.