Our healthcare system is built on the foundations of quality patient care, but all of that means little if staff aren’t able to look after their own mental wellbeing too. It’s for this reason that the BMA’s Mental Health Policy Lead, Andrew Molodynski, has reminded doctors in particular to stay alert to one’s own wellbeing and seek help where necessary.
Mr Molodynski wrote: “As the days shorten and the Covid-19 pandemic persists, our wellbeing has never been more important.
“We are often seen as figures that cope and hold the stress and difficulties for others so that good patient care happens, [but] we must acknowledge that we need to look after ourselves too.
“BMA surveys have shown alarming rates of burnout, anxiety and depression among doctors and the situation is deteriorating as this year’s pressures continue.
“From medics working in emergency care, ITU, and on general wards with Covid-19 cases to those in other specialties such as psychiatry or specialist surgery, we have all seen unwelcome changes and pressures with altered work patterns, increased suffering among our patients, and an inability to provide the care we would like to and indeed need to.”
The strain being felt on staff’s mental wellbeing is a concern shared across the organisation and the country too, with just this week Chair of the BMA in Scotland, Dr Lewis Morrison, issuing a warning to the SNP Conference that we very likely to face “massive levels of burnout” among medical professionals – and particularly, among doctors.
But there are steps which can be taken too in order to help ease some of that burden.
Mr Molodynski encouraged for colleagues to look to spending time outdoors, with friends and family – however unusual of a way that may be in the current circumstances – and checking in with someone trusted.
It has been a tough year for health in 2020 and the pressures are likely to continue for some time yet. As such, taking stock and supporting oneself as best as possible is all the more important.
Mr Molodynski points to a list of services and resources which can be used to help support those struggling with their mental wellbeing, which can be found listed here.