Healthcare workers in California are under some of the most intense stress of any employee out there. All over the United States, it’s estimated that around 54 percent of healthcare workers were already burnt out by the time the pandemic came along.
That number only increased after the pandemic. However, a good portion of healthcare workers also admitted they were afraid to seek help for their mental health.
The stigma associated with mental health
Around 60 percent of healthcare workers don’t seek mental healthcare due to existing stigmas. There’s a fear of being treated differently or even losing their licensure.
That fear isn’t unfounded. Physicians sharing their mental health struggles face judgment not only from their bosses but from the state licensing boards as well.
The American Medical Association recommended questions regarding mental health history be removed from licensure applications. Early treatment is critical when combating burnout and depression. It can also reduce medical staff injuries, so healthcare workers shouldn’t be discouraged from getting help.
Consequences when we neglect mental health
Healthcare workers are leaving the profession because of the increased strain on their mental health. Many physicians and healthcare workers who worked during the pandemic suffered from burnout and moral injury to due the sheer number of patients they had to see.
Hospitals are already understaffed, which adds additional strain onto healthcare workers. The more healthcare workers leave the profession, the worse the problem gets.
Solving the problem for healthcare workers
No person should be afraid to get help when they’re struggling. Seeing a mental health professional at the first sign of burnout and depression can keep the problem from escalating. It can even save lives.
Unfortunately, many healthcare workers have to overcome too many obstacles to get help for their mental health. Removing these obstacles and reducing stigma should be the priority for hospitals hoping to retain and care for their staff.