Positive mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic will have a very significant impact on clinical practice. RCSI recognises that our healthcare professionals will face many stressful situations during and after this crisis. As you strive to deliver the best possible care for your patients, it is crucial that you look after your own mental and physical well-being.
You may find strategies that worked for you previously continue to be the best approach for you. Whatever your circumstances, we have identified some information and resources that can support you to cope and be your best personal and professional self.
Like the rest of society, healthcare professionals can struggle with depression, anxiety and poor mental health. The current work environments our surgeons and emergency medicine doctors find themselves in may also contribute to high levels of stress. Generally speaking, we find ways to bounce back with little to no assistance; however, if problems persist, we recommend that you take action to restore your well-being. Below we have compiled a list of resources, many of which are free to avail of, that may help you to deal with these situations as they arise.
- RCSI resources: Resources for minding your mental health from experts in the RCSI Centre for Positive Psychology.
- Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference group for Mental Health & Psycosocial Support in Emergency Settings: This briefing note summarises key mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) considerations in relation to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
- HSE resources: Minding your mental health during the coronavirus (HSE).
- Self-care and supporting your colleagues – tips for healthcare workers: Guidance from the Irish Hospice Foundation on taking care of yourself and providing support to colleagues.
- This pandemic is personal: Dr Ira Byock makes practical suggestions and discusses the possible emotional impact of COVID-19 (Physician, Author, Patient Advocate – Founder, Institute for Human Caring at Providence St Joseph Health).
- Mind the Front Line: A new website specifically for healthcare workers who is concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health.
- 4 Mental Health: Co-funded by NHS England, this website is aimed at anyone who is struggling and would like to find new ways to cope.
- FrontLineMind: An Australia-based website with useful strategies.
- Support The Workers Collective: An international group of experts in disaster response, crisis psychology, high pressure decision-making and human performance, and health under conditions of extreme stress working to provide support to those on the frontline.
- Psychology Tools: Providing therapists with access to high-quality evidence-based tools to ensure they can conduct effective therapy.
- Academy of Medical Royal Colleges: Useful mental health and well-being resources for healthcare professionals.
- AWARE Online Mental Health Programme: Useful resources for managing your mental during the outbreak.
- Psychological Society of Ireland: Find a psychologist in your local area but using the Society's list.
- Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy: Find a counsellor /psychotherapist in your local area.
RTÉ 'You OK?' podcast: Dr Eva Doherty speaks about how frontline healthcare workers can manage their own mental health during the pandemic, under sustained stress and pressure. Listen to the podcast in full here.
RCSI, in collaboration with our colleagues in the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) and the Forum of Irish Postgraduate Training Bodies, have created a series of brief videos to support your health and well-being during the current crisis.
Each week we will release a five-minute video from an expert on topics related to stress, mental health and communicating with distressed and very sick patients.
Below is a list of the current and upcoming videos.
'Managing acute stress' – Ian Robertson, Emeritus Professor of TCD and bestselling author of The Stress Test
'Responding to patients' distress and strong emotions' – Prof. Eva Doherty, Director of Human Factors in Patient Safety, RCSI
'The ABC coping sentence' – Dr Claire Hayes, Consultant Clinical Psychologist to CoMPPAS Student Support, RCSI
'The psychological impact of stress on doctors during COVID-19' – Dr Sara O'Byrne, Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director of Treehouse Practice, a HSE co-funded practice for trauma-informed services
'Psychological reactions in medical professionals to the COVID-19 pandemic' – Dr Justin Brophy, Chairperson, Forum of Postgraduate Training Bodies in Ireland
- 'Emotional intelligence in crises' (title TBC) – Hadas Levy, Trainee Health and Wellbeing Lead, RCPI
- 'What to say to your children about COVID-19' (title TBC) – Dr Mark Smyth, Clinical Psychologist and President, Psychological Society of Ireland
- Title TBC – Prof. Mary Horgan, President, RCPI
- 'Call to action for consultants: Leading your teams in this time of crisis' (title TBC) – Prof. Kenneth Mealy, Past President, RCSI
- Aware: National organisation providing information, education and support for depression.
- Alcoholics Anonymous: Support to individuals and families affected by alcohol misuse.
- Bodywhys: National support group for people affected by eating disorders.
- Pieta House: Support to those who are contemplating suicide or engaged in self-harm.
- The 3Ts: Suicide prevention and funds the 1Life suicide helpline.
- The Samaritans: One-to-one telephone support to people who are emotionally distressed
- The Money Advice & Budgeting Service (MABS): Money advice service, guiding people through dealing with problem debt.