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Care for Care: Mental health support for nurses

Colleen Cameron

This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental health in an unequal world’. We asked our Wellness Expert, and I/O Psychologist Colleen Cameron about her insights. Colleen has dubbed her views as ‘Care for Care’ which conveys the message that nurses are also in need of support, and what a better way to support healthcare workers than by using valuable nursing skills already available to them.  
Read more below about what this means for our healthcare workers and what to do if someone needs support. 

1. Care for Care, we love that. Can you explain what this means for our healthcare workers? 

I'd like to start by thanking our healthcare professionals particularly during this pandemic. I came up with the concept of Care for Care because as nurses there is such a high level of expertise required in caring for patients, thus what a great opportunity for such skills to be used towards one another. Through this notion we can develop a care culture to be disseminated across nurses. I want all nurses to continue to utilise the six C’s and to be intentional when implementing this concept towards themselves. 

2. What preventative measures would you advise for nurses to implement to avert mental health struggles? 

It is important to be open about the struggles you may be facing.  
  • Be sure to have a good network of people around you.  
  • Be open to counselling.  
  • Talk to someone you can trust.  
  • I have also been sharing the importance of limiting screen time and living offline, which looks like finding time to get involved in activities that don’t involve a screen.
  • I would encourage nurses to listen to their body, as our body speaks to us when it is under stress. This can be a mental symptom like consistent worrying, a physical symptom like headaches, chest pain or change in heartbeat, or a behavioural change like sleeping too much or too little.
  • I also encourage regular health check-ups.

3. How would you suggest healthcare workers take care of themselves if they’ve identified/experiencing mental health issues? 

Once you have been officially diagnosed with mental health, seek regular support, and have a good understanding of what you can and can’t commit to. Learn more about your circumstance and begin to think about ways to adapt, as this looks different in every case. Be honest with yourself and those around you so you can have the best care systems. Do not self-diagnose seek guidance from your GP. 

4. Do you know of any additional resources that can be used to improve their mental health? 

Be careful of online searches; the internet is filled with so much information, and some can be misleading. When researching mental health and wellbeing, always use sites that are medically based like the NHS website. 

5. Do you have any closing comments? 

There is only one you, that is your power, and with great power comes great responsibility. You must use this to take care of yourself and put your wellbeing first. It is with this that you can be the best version of you. 
Thank you, Colleen, for your insightful advice and expertise. We hope that this will help those on their journey to mental wellbeing!