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‘Need to address mental health issues in healthcare professionals’

News‘Need to address mental health issues in healthcare professionals’

New Delhi: As per various reports, anxiety disorders and depression are listed as the most prevalent mental health problems among healthcare professionals. The Sunday Guardian spoke to several healthcare workers and found out that the hectic work schedules and skipping meals have led to an unhealthy work-life balance in healthcare workers. “The stigma affects doctors’ willingness to seek help which leads to over-reliance on self-treatment and low peer support. Then there is a constant worry about careers and the responsibility of saving lives. Also, not being able to see our families for days on end also drained us both physically and mentally,” Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals said. Several doctors have also recounted their terrible experiences with patients. “Dealing with critical patients, tests, the patience of the relatives and despite providing them adequate time and satisfying counselling sessions, some relatives cannot hold their anxiety and grief which often manifests in abuse of the healthcare team which includes doctors, nurses, multipurpose workers and sometimes even the security guards. In the past 10 years of my practice, I have witnessed a huge augmentation of hostility and degrees of assault from family of patients. Nursing officers are the brave first liners and face abuse by family as well,” Dr Apurva Nagesh Sharma, Consultant-Neurology, Manipal Hospital, Gurugram, said. “In a country where mental health issues are considered taboo, doctors and nurses are expected to be the selfless caregivers and hence, have no easily accessible or robust mechanism to seek help, or spared non-judgmental thought of looking out for their own selves. Doctors are considered gods and this very notion, along with a massively under-budgeted healthcare ecosystem (versus our 1.2+ billion population) in India is at the crux of this vortex,” Dr Mukesh Parmar, CEO, Docplexus said. Dr R.C. Jiloha Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram, said, “To meet demands of society, we physicians neglect our priorities. We are preoccupied with our jobs and rarely take care of our health.” Dr Jyoti Kapoor, a senior psychiatrist, said: “If this is the case for regular people, you can imagine that of a healthcare professional. We are not considered as someone whose mental health needs attention.”

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