Mental Health Therapy for Frontline Workers
By Catline Jacques, MD
None of us were prepared for the global pandemic we find ourselves in. Not parents, teachers, and certainly not the healthcare workers around the country. Doctors and nurses suddenly found themselves working double shifts to care for sick people. As the rest of the world went into lockdown and people stayed home, safe and sound, these frontline workers showed up day after day, putting their health and life on the line.
Many, in an effort to keep their families safe, found other living arrangements. The idea of possibly exposing their family to something they may have been exposed to at work was too much of a risk, and so many mothers and fathers also had to deal with the stress and sadness of being away from their family during the height of the pandemic.
While many frontline workers appear stoic, all of this stress and fear took its toll, even on the bravest among us. As a result, many frontline workers have found themselves burnt out and experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
It’s common for everyone to feel stressed or sad from time to time. But when certain symptoms linger, you are typically dealing with depression or anxiety. If you’ve never dealt with either before, you may not know the symptoms.
Symptoms of depression include:
- A persistent feeling of sadness
- A lack of energy
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Sleep disruption (either sleeping too much or too little)
- Appetite disruption (eating too much or too little)
- Difficulty focusing
- A loss of enjoyment of previous hobbies or activities
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Excessive worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tense muscles
- Panic attacks
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Irrational fears
Is it Time to Seek Help?
For many healthcare workers, all of their time and focus is on how they can help others. The idea of self-care and asking others for help is not something on their radar.
If you are a healthcare worker that is experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression as a result of COVID, it’s really important that you let someone else help you right now. A psychiatrist can offer strategies that will help you cope with your symptoms and deal with the underlying emotions.
If you or someone you know needs help, please get in touch with me. I offer both in-person appointments as well as online support.
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