Managing Mental Health in the Primary Care


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The health of the people working in any healthcare setting is of paramount importance and a priority.
The primary healthcare sector plays a vital role to diagnose and treat general ailments and mental health problems of the individuals and families living in the community. Perhaps, the critical question would be, what is done to preserve and manage mental health in the primary care sector?

The mental health problems among healthcare professionals in the primary care sector is a topic not often discussed. But according to recent statistics, every two out of five GPs suffer mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, OCD and PTSD.

A survey taken in April 2021 has shown an insight into the impact and effect that working through the pandemic has had on doctors.

The facts:

Almost 50% of doctors are suffering from depression, anxiety, stress or burnout.

Around 60% are expecting ‘higher than normal’ levels of fatigue.

Nearly 30% have undertaken additional unpaid hours.

A study showed that 9/10 of doctors suggested that their mental health issues developed due to their pressing working routines. However, many doctors continued to work despite feeling mentally unwell.

It is common in the health industry for medical professionals to not feel comfortable about speaking up about their own health issues when the patients should be the priority.

However, the mental well-being of doctors and nurses is critical. The need to support and safeguard our healthcare workers, who already face immense levels of work pressure, goes without saying,.

How can you as a healthcare provider manage your team’s mental health?

  • Developing a well-being strategy.
  • Cultivate a supportive and friendly working environment.
  • Encouraging and strengthening peer support.
  • Ensuring the provision of high-quality and accessible service support.

There is a mass amount of mental health support available to doctors and healthcare professionals. However, research has shown that the majority of primary health care workers are unaware of mental health support facilities available for them and, if they are aware of them, they would certainly go and seek help.

The government has initiated various mental health aid programmes to support mental health among workers, such as ‘confidential NHS support services’ for GPs. The British Medical Association (BMA) has collaborated with several mental health and counselling services that explicitly run to promote the mental health of healthcare professionals across the UK.

For instance, there is free counselling and peer support service available 24/7 for all the doctors and medical students by BMA on 0330 123 1245.

Additionally, GMC also offers doctors support services to provide confidential, emotional support to all their doctors going through mental stress due to fitness, practice, or any complaint risking their license being revoked.

Doc Health is another platform that offers face-to-face psychotherapeutic consultations to all doctors across the UK. However, they may charge fees, but there is a discount for doctors facing any financial difficulties.

Perhaps, there is still a lot to be done to ease the workers by lowering the overwhelming workload and prolonging working shifts.

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