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COVID-19 is endangering the mental health of half our health care workers

Feb 10, 2021, 10:48 AM
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SALT LAKE CITY — A new study shows that more than half of health care workers are susceptible to mental health problems due to COVID-19.

The study, led by the University of Utah Health, surveyed over 500 health care workers in the Mountain West area. Out of those surveyed, %56 reported at least one mental health disorder.

Many health care workers are beginning to feel the effects of long hours under very stressful conditions according to Charles C. Benight, Ph.D., co-author of the study and a professor of psychology at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

“Frontline providers are exhausted, not only from the impact of the pandemic itself, but also in terms of coping day to day,” says Benight.

How COVID-19 is taking its toll on mental health nationally

These latest statistics reiterate a very concerning aspect of the pandemic — how our mental health is deteriorating due to COVID-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 42% of people surveyed by the US Census Bureau in December reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in December, an increase from 11% the previous year.

Such levels of decreased mental health can be contributed to self-isolation, unemployment, and fear of COVID-19.

All of these factors combined can create a whirlwind of emotions that over the course of time can dramatically decrease our overall happiness.

Ways to combat the negative effects of COVID-19 and the pandemic

Use a video conference tool to stay connected

Many of us have acclimated to the life of Zoom, Teams, or Skype to manage our tasks throughout the day.

These video conference-type tools can be incredibly beneficial to staying engaged with our family members during the holidays.

While it might not be as comforting as in person, these tools can help us stay connected with our families.

Be grateful for the things we do have

Studies have shown that just being thankful can make you happier and a little can go a long way towards being grateful.

Being able to appreciate the good things that we do have right now is an easy way to cultivate positivity.

Here are a couple of different ways to bring more gratitude into your life:

Start a gratitude journal – A gratitude journal can be as simple as a notebook that you write in. You can also write down all of the benefits and gifts that you have in life that brings you happiness. That way if you ever feel down, you can turn to your journal. This simple activity will also remind you of all of the positive aspects of your life.

Appreciate everything – As we focus on the amazing things we do have in life, we can begin to overshadow what negative aspects of our daily lives might bring.

Practice Mindfulness – One of the most effective ways to be grateful is to be more mindful. By being more mindful, we allow ourselves to look inward to ourselves and slow down. We can focus on one thing at a time and breathe with a calmer mind.

To learn more about protecting our mental health listen to the Project Recovery podcast

For more information on mental health or if you or someone you know is struggling, you can find more information on Facebook, KSL TV, or Know Your Script. To hear more from Casey Scott and Dr. Matt Woolley, you can listen below or subscribe to the ‘Project Recovery’ podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get major podcasts.

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COVID-19 is endangering the mental health of half our health care workers