- Hope Huling, M.A., Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate, Spalding University, Louisville, KY
It is common for frontline integrated healthcare workers to be consistently stretched thin at work, so they quietly, and sometimes not-so-quietly, lean on co-located mental health colleagues for personal and emotional support. This occurs for the likely reasons that their mental health co-workers are easy and quick to access, when time is considered a luxury within your day at work and home, as well as the trusted relationships built between these colleagues that make it easier to ask personal questions about delicate subjects. These conversations occur often for mental health workers as they are asked mental health-related questions “for a friend,” or when a colleague jokingly says they “may need to make their own appointment after a day like this one!” The topics of conversation range from small referral questions to privately detailed trauma accounts, blurring the boundaries between work and private life. Although one might feel honored to be entrusted with their co-workers’ questions about such personal matters, it can be troubling to balance the ethics of dual relationships while holding so much personal information about a colleague. To help alleviate these crossed boundaries while also supporting mental health conversations at work, there are several proactive ideas for mental health experts to implement in the workplace that can be used for company-wide mental health benefits. This presentation will provide easy-to-implement steps that will help support and advocate for comfortable conversation, resource sharing, and employer-led mental health opportunities built right into one’s workday. These simple methods will provide integrated healthcare workers with positive outlets for managing stress at work, while improving employee-employer relationships, reducing burnout rates, and allowing mental health workers to simply stay a colleague to their work friends.
- approach conversation and advocate for more mental health support in the workplace.
- build and maintain mental health resources at work.
- lead mental health-focused meetings and stress-reduction groups in the workplace.