Fighting the coronavirus: how is the mental health of doctors and nurses?

When we talk about fighting coronavirus we need to remember a group of people who are on the front lines. We are talking about those who work to save the lives of all of us: doctors and nurses.

In addition to constant risk exposure, these professionals are suffering from work overload.

Its consequences? As much as the physical fatigue is enormous, what has been worrying the specialists even more is mental health . The whirlwind of news, expectations and insecurities also makes doctors and nurses tense.

As much as they need to be strong in front of patients and their families, we must remember that they are human beings too.

In this very complex and atypical moment of fighting the coronavirus, our doctors and nurses are great heroes of war. Working more than usual and doing the impossible to save lives, they are risking their own lives for the sake of others.

Working on the front lines in this pandemic is perhaps the biggest challenge that many of these professionals will face in their careers.

Throughout this article, check out a little more in detail the situation that health professionals are facing in Brazil. In addition, we have also compiled some tips to help you deal with excessive anxiety and stress in this uncertain time. And if you have a friend or relative who is a healthcare professional, be sure to send this text to him!

How have health professionals faced the fight against coronavirus?

Chaos, fear and insecurity mark the daily lives of doctors and nurses. The pandemic that has been plaguing Brazil for some months has yet to end, which causes even more anguish for the entire population and for health professionals.

The excessive concern that doctors and nurses are dealing with every day can lead to increased levels of anxiety, stress and even a post-traumatic stress disorder. The challenges posed by the new coronavirus are unprecedented for many of these professionals who fell by parachute in the middle of the pandemic.

In addition, due to the lack of doctors, several residents were moved to the front line in order to help in this daily struggle. In addition to fears about exposure to the virus, these people are also concerned about the labor relationship, as they are residents and do not have the same labor protections as other professionals.

The lack of protective equipment is another stress factor for those who work to fight coronavirus

As if the dramatic context with which doctors and nurses have to deal with fighting coronavirus was not enough, there are also concerns about the basics: personal protective equipment. A survey conducted by the Associação Paulista de Medicina (APM) found that 50% of doctors who are on the front line against coronavirus need to deal with the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The data is alarming:

  • 50% of doctors say that NP5 or PFF2 masks are missing;
  • 38.5% confirm that facial protection equipment is missing;
  • 26% said they lack glasses;
  • 31% say aprons are missing;
  • 36.5 say that not enough surgical masks.

This whole situation causes fear, anxiety and excessive stress for health professionals. However, the worst of all is that without these personal protective equipment they are even more vulnerable with the risk of becoming contaminated. The data already account for more than 100 nurses killed and more than 4,000 infected. Altogether, there are more than 30 thousand health professionals who have already been removed due to contamination.

Mental health care for those on the front of the fight against coronavirus

As much as doctors and nurses are used to dealing with disasters and emergencies, the coronavirus pandemic is already considered one of the biggest health problems of the current generation. The fact that the virus is still unknown and there is no clear prediction for the creation of the vaccine makes everyone live with the disease in the dark.

There are many concerns: deaths, the collapse of the health system, the economic crisis, new habits and behaviors due to social distance, among others. All of this is a factor of anxiety and stress.

The constant state of alert and the whirlwind of dramatic news in the media push healthcare professionals to the limit. Some of the main impacts on mental health are generalized anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. There are several ways to deal with this excessive burden of stress and anxiety, but there is no cake recipe that works exactly the same for everyone.

Check, then, some activities that can be included in the daily lives of these professionals so that they can better manage their emotions in this pandemic period.

Meditation

A simple and quick practice that can be performed at any time of the day and anywhere. Taking a few minutes to focus on the present and your breathing can be a way to deal with all the chaos and anxiety about the future. There are many guided meditation apps for beginners.

Creative expression

One way to explore positive emotions and release some of the emotional charge is through activities that provide creative expression. Painting, writing, drawing or playing an instrument can be interesting ways to abstract the mind and calm down, especially at this time when we cannot go out on the streets as we did before the pandemic.

News filter

For those who have been on the front lines all day, getting home and seeing even more sad news is the recipe for disaster. A health professional should take advantage of his free time to abstract and focus on matters other than the pandemic. It is necessary to avoid excessive exposure to the media at this time.

Physical exercises

If possible, doing some physical exercises can be very useful at this time, as it is scientifically proven that the practice helps to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety.

Therapy

Finally, we need to talk about the importance of mental health care with a professional specialized in the area, that is, a psychologist. The demand for therapy has grown a lot at the moment and it is indicated that health professionals also take advantage of this service. Since the moment is one of social distance, many psychologists are attending from a distance. It is possible to find a suitable professional for your needs through platforms such as Vittude.

Click here to meet Vittude, which connects patients and psychologists quickly and easily. For doctors and nurses who have little free time, taking therapy sessions online is a great way to take care of mental health at this time of fighting the coronavirus.

 

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