By Lindsey Appleby-Flynn
The impact of the first UK lockdown has been substantial. The Care Quality Commission revealed that some registered managers of adult social care services are ‘suffering from burnout and extreme anxiety’. On top of this, there’s a reported increase in ‘care home managers suffering from distress due to multiple deaths and financial worries’.
As we navigate the second phase of lockdown restrictions in England, there is more uncertainty about the future. This continued strain on professionals across the health and social care industries makes it a crucial time for enhanced mental health support in the workplace.
With stress and anxiety already at an all-time high, the prospect of heading into the winter months and a second wave of COVID-19 can be unsettling. With each of these factors in mind, here are some top tips on how to develop an effective mental health support network for care professionals during ‘Lockdown 2.0’.
1. Create a mental health inclusive workplace
Fostering a mental health inclusive workplace is vital. After all, our work environment is often where we spend the majority of our time.
A mental health inclusive workplace helps to promote open conversations, transparency and support, for all levels within the organisation. The aim is to identify and resolve any pressures, which may have the potential to cause stress and anxiety in the workplace.
Encouraging this sort of environment can be achieved in a number of ways, depending on what works best for your team. For example, anonymous suggestion or feedback boxes, adopting a mental health ‘buddy’ or ‘mentor’ system where employees can discuss work-related issues, or holding a forum where the team can raise concerns and work together to find a solution.
At Connect2Care, we believe that the impact and effects of establishing your workplace as one which is inclusive of mental health are infinitely positive. We’ve created a free to download e-guide, ‘Creating a mental health inclusive workplace’ to enlighten businesses like yours and provide guidance on the benefits of having a positive outlook on mental health in the workplace.
2. Tips to keep a healthy mind while in isolation
We’ve learned that lockdown restrictions pose many challenges. Loneliness is a big factor as many workers are spending more time away from their families or isolating completely to limit the spread of the virus. While different strategies work for different people and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, healthcare managers and leaders can share a few coping strategies with their workforce to help them through this time.
One technique growing in popularity is mindfulness – the act of being present in the moment and taking stock of your surroundings and your own actions. Talk to your staff about the benefits of taking a few minutes to appreciate the moment, such as the sounds from outside their window for example, and encourage them to focus on the positives of the current moment – rather than fearing the future or reminiscing over the past.
3. Equip your team with the right skills to manage stress and avoid burnout
Stress can manifest in many forms and before being able to manage or alleviate it, the first step is being able to effectively recognise it.
Investing in training can not only help to upskill your teams and provide better care to service user. But mental health education is essential for identifying and understanding different mental health conditions. To help give your team these invaluable skills, Connect2Care’s Level 2 First Aid for Mental Health training course is tailored to professionals across the health and social care industries. The training will providing your workforce with the knowledge to identify suspected mental health conditions and to signpost an individual towards professional mental health help if needed.
At Connect2Care we wholeheartedly believe in raising awareness and extending the provision of mental health. As such, I am proud to say that we’re now offering every business nationwide two complimentary places on Connect2Care’s Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health training course.
Right now, it has never been more important to look after each other’s mental health and wellbeing. By putting measures in place to encourage an open dialogue around mental health, as well as the skills to effectively identify and manage stress to mitigate burnout in the workplace, health and social care businesses can remain resilient.
Lindsey is an expert in the field of mental health. She sits on the Executive Committee of the Care Apprenticeship Board and has completed extensive work with individuals experiencing psychosis, schizophrenia, bi-polar and personality disorders, as well as managing a community support team for those enduring mental health issues.
For more information or to enrol team members on the Level 1 Awareness of First Aid for Mental Health Training Course, visit https://connect2care.net/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org