The World Health Organization recognizes World Mental Health Day every Oct. 10. Here are five takeaways for physicians:
1. The theme of World Mental Health Day 2017 is mental health at work.
Although working is generally good for mental health, a negative work environment, which may include bullying and harassment, can take a toll on its employees’ mental health. Depression and anxiety result in lost productivity that costs the global economy roughly $1 trillion annually, reports the WHO, which also offers tips for fostering wellness in the workplace here.
2. There’s still a massive stigma attached to talking about mental illness.
More than 8 in 10 respondents to a recent UK survey think talking about stress and mental illness in the workplace carries a stigma, and a recent South African survey found that just 1 in 6 employees would feel comfortable disclosing information about their mental illness to their manager.
3. Awareness of the mental health crisis affecting physicians and medical trainees is growing.
With more than half of physicians reporting that they’ve experienced burnout, and medical students more likely to suffer depression than their peers, the medical profession is beginning to take steps to address physician wellness. This year, the AOA adopted a Physician Wellness Strategy, which calls for the creation of resources to promote physician wellness, including curriculum to train medical educators to spot and address burnout and mental illness in trainees. Also, a soon-to-be-released documentary on physician suicide featuring DO sources is likely to further increase awareness.
4. DOs are well-trained to promote mental wellness in their patients.
Because the osteopathic philosophy emphasizes treating the mind, body and spirit, many DOs are well-attuned to their patients’ mental health. Here’s a closer look at how several DOs approach addressing mental health in their patients.
5. People are taking to social media to offer words of encouragement and hope.
Here’s a sampling:
On this #WorldMentalHealthDay ask someone how they are. Have a proper conversation with them and take time to be mindful of yourself too.
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) October 10, 2017
— Chelsea 🌻 (@chelseacarlax) October 10, 2017
— Jacob (@TryingNotToLurk) October 10, 2017
— Kay Fairest (@KayFairest) October 10, 2017