World Mental Health Day: Nurses Need Help Too
It’s OK to not be OK. That’s the message the World Foundation for Mental Health (WFMH) wants to send loud and clear for all to hear this World Mental Health Day. We all need help sometimes, and it’s OK to ask for it. No one should have to face life’s challenges alone – including nurses, who are often so busy taking care of others that they don’t take the time to care for themselves.
With more than 800,000 people dying by suicide each year, WFMH has designated suicide prevention as this year’s theme for World Mental Health Day, celebrated every year on October 10. It’s topic that hits very close to home for the nursing profession. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), found that both male and female nurses are at higher risk for suicide than other professionals, due to a multitude of on-the-job stressors they face daily. The study results found that female nurses die by suicide 58 percent more often than the general population; male nurses, 41 percent more often.
“Given these findings, suicide prevention programs are needed,” says researcher Judy Davidson, DNP, RN, a nurse scientist at UC San Diego Health Sciences, which created the Healer Education Assessment and Referral Program (HEAR) to help identify health care professionals in crisis. “The UCSD HEAR program has successfully detected and referred nurses at risk for treatment. This program is ready for replication at the national level to address this newly recognized risk within the nursing workforce.”
In response to the study, the American Nurses Association (ANA) is developing a task force to address the critical need for suicide prevention programs for nursing professionals and released the following statement: “Improving the health of nurses by addressing the multitude of wellness risks that nurses and nursing students face is a top priority for ANA. To us, health includes a balance of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, personal and professional well-being. Whether it’s due to demanding shift work or the stress associated with providing care on the frontlines of nearly every clinical setting, we know that depression and anxiety are common complaints among nurses.”
Aya Healthcare Has Your Back
At Aya Healthcare, travel nurses have the support of the Travel Experience Department, which assists travelers with a wide variety of concerns, including providing support and resources during challenging emotional times.
“Our nurses’ safety and well-being are of utmost importance to us,” says Tracy Sano, Aya’s director of Travel Experience. “That includes their mental health. If any of our travelers are experiencing a mental health crisis, we have an Employee Assistance Program and other resources available to assist them. We want all of our staff to know they are supported at all times when they’re on assignment. Remember, it’s OK to not be OK – and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone.”
For more information on World Mental Health Day, visit the World Foundation for Mental Health.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-8255.