Nurse's guide to mental health support
Coping during the Covid pandemic has been stressful for many. Here are some tips and resources for help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
SAMHSA National Helpline 1-800-662 HELP (4357)
SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline 1-800-985-5990
As a nurse on the front lines of managing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, you are encountering unique challenges and stressors unlike any other. The realities of the situation are changing your ability to provide care to your patients, spend time with your family, and go about your daily life.
The stress may be affecting you physically, interpersonally, and emotionally more than anything you’ve ever experienced. You will likely feel a range of reactions to stress and trauma you experience during this pandemic. What might this look like for you?
Here are some common symptoms of excessive stress: Physical Symptoms: rapid heart rate, muscle tension, headaches, GI distress, difficulty breathing, high startle response, nausea, nightmares or flashbacks, chronic exhaustion. Sleep Disturbance: nightmares, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Emotional Responses: anger, fear, frustration, irritability, anxiety, sadness, guilt, difficulty maintaining emotional balance.
Difficulty Thinking Clearly: Disorientation or confusion, difficulty problem-solving or making decisions, difficulty concentrating or remembering instructions. Problematic or Risky Behaviors: Unnecessary risk taking, increased use of alcohol or drugs to numb. Social Impacts: blaming others, conflicts with coworkers or family members, withdrawal and isolation, becoming clingy or needy.
For many, these feelings will subside with time as we begin to recover. The important thing is to develop coping mechanisms and find the support you need to address this stress. This support will look different for each person.
You are not alone. There is help and support available