Expert advice

Workplace: Supporting nurses with work-related mental health issues

How can I support nurses with work-related mental health issues to better cope with their jobs?

Question: How can I support nurses with work-related mental health issues to better cope with their jobs?

Work-related stress, anxiety about performance and depression arising from a perceived inability to deliver better care are, sadly, on the rise. This affects more nurses than ever. Meanwhile, levels of staff absence due to poor mental health have increased in recent years.

As a steward it is essential for you to be aware of the potential challenges these health issues are likely to pose.

Nurses are usually unwilling to admit they are struggling, whether with workload, difficulties posed by lack of staff, their patient group or even their colleagues. They do their best to come across as strong, active and capable, thinking anything less would be failing patients, workmates or themselves.

This can result in ‘presenteeism’ when, despite feeling unwell, a nurse will come in to work because

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