The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on mental health worldwide, but no one has been hit harder than front line healthcare workers. As a result of the heightened stress healthcare professionals have endured for almost two years, they are at a higher risk for mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. While traveling as a healthcare professional may feel isolating and lonely at times, it’s important to understand that you are not alone, and help is available and accessible through multiple channels.
Here are several benefits you can take advantage of as a travel nurse to support your mental health:
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) offer professional assistance with personal, family, finance, and work struggles, often at no cost to the employee. Many programs offer free telehealth therapy sessions and in-person access to behavioral health professionals and substance abuse counselors, among a variety of other benefits.
The Fastaff Employee Assistance Program offers confidential telephone consultations and counseling sessions for issues including stress, depression, family and relationship concerns and more.
Movement is Medicine
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA.org), even just five minutes of aerobic exercise can help lower cortisol, one of the primary hormones responsible for elevated levels of stress in the body. Utilizing fitness programs offered by your agency will encourage you to get moving and may improve your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Fastaff currently works with United Healthcare to offer travelers enrolled in a Fastaff Health Plan a discounted digital fitness membership for 24/7 access to Peloton fitness classes on the go. Fastaff nurses can also join a free virtual yoga class every Wednesday at 12pm MT.
Prefer to get out of your house or hotel room to exercise? Fastaff also offers its travelers discounted memberships to 24-Hour Fitness - the world’s largest privately owned fitness center chain that has thousands of convenient locations, the latest equipment and diverse fitness classes to keep your workout interesting.
Finally, If you are currently enrolled in a Fastaff Health Plan, you may be eligible to enroll in a 1-year subscription to Apple Fitness+ at no additional cost.
In addition to taking advantage of programs that your agency may offer, one of the most underestimated forms of exercise that boosts both your physical and mental health exists for free – a short walk outside can help center and calm your mind and body, leaving you refreshed and renewed, allowing you to show up as the best healthcare professional you can be. Check out mental wellness apps like Calm and Headspace for guided meditations, encouragement, and coaching while you’re out and about.
Talk it Through and Work it Out
Talk therapy is a proven safe and effective method to help individuals sort through what’s taking up space in their mind and body. Talkspace is an online application that provides ongoing support and resources from a wide network of licensed therapists. With a dedicated COVID-19 Instagram channel and therapist-lead Facebook groups, Talkspace offers discounted subscriptions for all users and financial assistance for healthcare workers and first responders.
In addition to therapy, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami.org) offers resources dedicated to healthcare workers who have been impacted by the events of the last year and a half. NAMI offers multiple resources to connect health care professionals with licensed mental health professionals at no cost, in addition to resources for individual and group support.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare professionals experienced an unprecedented amount of burnout, depression, workplace stress and anxiety. As the pandemic continues to exacerbate the rate of mental health issues in nurses, there must be a paradigm shift from mental health crisis reaction to prevention and awareness. Our goal is to empower our nurses to be proactive about their mental health by destigmatizing mental illness and providing ongoing support and resources as they navigate the COVID-19 landscape.
Our healthcare heroes are our lifeline, and we are here to support you every step of the way. Take care of yourself and be well.
- Crisis Text Line - Text HOME to 741741 to reach a Crisis Counselor
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 800-273-8255
- NAMI HelpLine – 1-800-950-6264 or firstname.lastname@example.org