Advocacy, Needs, and Further Action Needed

Advocating for the Mental Health of Healthcare Workers

Working with Governmental Agencies

  • Examples of Acts of Congress, addressing aims to address mental health issues amongst frontline workers, and to provide resources
  • What Are Some Needs?
    • Promote a societal approach aimed at prevention, and protecting and caring for the public’s mental health
    • Continued support, resources, finances, and policies from federal, state, local governments to develop opportunities for support and resources for COVID-19 frontline health care workers
    • Continued support of research regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of frontline healthcare workers - and the potential lasting mental health effects after the pandemic ends
  • What You Can Do
    • Work with your place of employment to see how your organization could take advantage of existing programming and Acts mentioned above, and to see what other forms of governmental support would be beneficial
    • Consider working with coworkers, organizations you belong to, or your union (if applicable) to lobby local, state, federal governments and organizations to increase support and resources for healthcare workers during the pandemic
    • Spread awareness about the need for continued research

Working within Organizations

  • What Are the Needs?
    • Overall support is a must to ensure that workers feel that they are valued
    • Availability of “rest areas” in the workplace
    • Adequate staffing to reduce burnout
    • Regular mental health screening for health care workers
    • Peer support opportunities in the workplace
    • Expanded PPE availability and supply
    • Access to readily-available mental health services – especially on-site
    • Establishing adequate parental and sick leave policies
  • What You Can Do
    • Continue to advocate for your needs as a healthcare worker within your organization, so that you can have the resources necessary to do your job
    • Advocate for expansion of mental health services available to employees at the work site
    • Ask to speak with HR and those responsibile for creating policies. Share your experiences and your mental health needs, and how the organization can help. Encourage the review and revision of workplace policies and views, so that health care workers feel that they can utilize mental health services without stigma or fear of job loss

Working with Managers and Supervisors

  • What Are the Needs?
    • Need to communicate policies, procedures, and guidance, top-down and across, with transparency and clarity
    • Mental health training for managers and supervisors is a must
    • Need to support frontline health care workers by actively working to promote opportunities for programs, services, etc. which would positively impact supervisees
    • Managers and supervisors need to ensure adequate staffing in order to reduce risk of staff burnout
  • What You Can Do
    • Ask for clarity when communication or guidelines or expectations are unclear
    • Work with your supervisor to implement better mental health services for healthcare workers - particularly in your department, floor, etc. where your supervisor may have some authority to do so
    • Advocate for PTO, breaks, connection with resources, when needed
    • Advocate for fair pay and need of extra staffing, when necessary

Working with Colleagues and Coworkers

  • What Are the Needs?
    • Need to be on the lookout for coworkers and colleagues who are showing signs of burnout, stress, etc.
    • Need to be educated about the roles they can have when it comes to helping their colleagues reduce risk of burnout and mental health issues
  • What You Can Do
    • Provide support as appropriate, to colleagues and coworkers who appear to be in distress, providing support, assisting with referring to services
    • Advocate for peer support opportunities in the workplace

References

  1. Buselli R, Corsi M, Veltri A, et al. Mental health of Health Care Workers (HCWs): a review of organizational interventions put in place by local institutions to cope with new psychosocial challenges resulting from COVID-19. Psychiatry Res. 2021;299:113847.  [PMID:33721785]
  2. Mensik, H. Joint Commission: Burned out healthcare workers need a lifeline. Healthcare Dive. Accessed November 3, 2021. https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/joint-commission-issues-alert-on-burnt...



  3. Søvold LE, Naslund JA, Kousoulis AA, et al. Prioritizing the Mental Health and Well-Being of Healthcare Workers: An Urgent Global Public Health Priority. Front Public Health. 2021;9:679397.  [PMID:34026720]
Last updated: November 3, 2021