off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Taking care of Mental
Health of Healthcare

Healthcare professionals working in Pakistan and particularly those in public healthcare facilities remain too busy. They are over worked, overburdened, have to work in not so comfortable environment. There is often too much political interference with the result that the prevalence of burnout among the healthcare professionals is very high. Numerous studies have also revealed that those working in Emergency Department, Anesthesia and Psychiatrists are at a much greater risk of committing suicide. Hence, it is extremely important that physical as well as mental health of the healthcare professionals themselves should be taken care. Physically and mentally healthy HCPs can work with devotion and dedication and it will also improve their professional performance.

The Covid19 Pandemic has also put lot of pressure on healthcare professionals who are over stretched, fear of getting infected, concern about the safety of their family members has resulted in increased anxiety and depression among doctors particularly those who are managing the COVID19 patients. These issues have been highlighted by the media from time to time urging the authorities to look after them and initiate effective protective measures but without any significant improvement in the working conditions of the doctors. Mere praising them as warriors on the frontline and clapping won’t work. The authorities need to look into these issues seriously. Covid19 will remain with us for some time and the likelihood of further increased prevalence of mental disorders among the healthcare professionals cannot be ruled out. In fact it has been predicted to rise in the coming years.

The tragic incident of a psychiatrist who committed suicide after killing his daughter who was also a psychiatrist in Multan two weeks ago should not be taken lightly. It must ring an alarm bell among all those concerned in the medical profession, health planners and government. It is not only physical but mental health as well which is extremely important. King Edward Medical University has taken an initiative to start counselling service for its medical students and faculty members can also benefit from it. In view of the stigma attached to it in the society as well as within the medical profession as well, availability of such a service at Campus is ideal. It is hoped that other medical institutions will also follow this to resolve the mental worries of the medical students as well as faculty members if any. It is not uncommon to hear students committing suicide in various cities from to time and provision of such a counselling service for the students is needed to be implemented in all the teaching institutions in colleges and universities in particular.

The Government should also take care of the families of those healthcare professionals who died while managing Covid19 patients and implement the Shuhda Package for them without any further delay. Ensuring peaceful, comfortable, safe working environment, guarding entry and exit points in public hospitals with proper boundary walls is essential which can also reduce the incidents of violence against healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities.

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