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Mental health resources

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Mental health resources

As health professionals, it is of particular importance to look after our own health. Former President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Steve Hambleton states ‘we need to be healthy to offer the best care to our patients and to experience rewarding and satisfying careers’.

Looking after yourself to prevent burnout includes:

  • maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • finding a realistic work-life balance
  • recognising stressors at work and at home and working towards minimising them
  • accessing appropriate help for mental health problems if necessary.  

According to Lee and Miller - A Self-care Framework for Social Workers: Building a Strong Foundation for Practice, the literature suggests that the demands of being a professional in a helping role can lead to compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress which may in turn compromise the quality of care for clients. In their article they describe both personal and professional self care. Some suggestions of self-care supports include:

Personal self care supports :

  • physical – exercise, sleep, diet
  • psychological and emotional – recognising one’s own strengths, stress management techniques such as mindfulness and yoga
  • social – engaging in one’s community
  • spiritual – meditation, prayer or spending time in nature
  • leisure – participating in enjoyable activities.

Professional self care supports:

  • workload management – taking breaks, not taking work home
  • attention to role – understanding one’s professional role as a physiotherapist as well as understanding one’s role within the specific work environment and job and working within that realm
  • attention to reactions to work – being mindful of both the positive and negative impacts of work. Celebrating the positive and taking steps towards addressing the negative eg, stress management
  • professional social support and self-advocacy – building a network or community to support each other
  • professional development – being well educated and resourced helps to minimise stress

Helpful resources

Burnout Among Alberta Physiotherapists: A White Paper

Talking Patient and Practitioner Mental Health in Physiotherapy: Podcast

Useful websites and resources for self-care 

If you or anyone you know is in crisis or needs help:

  • Beyondblue provides a checklist for self-assessment of depression and anxiety, information sheets on depression and anxiety disorders and 24-hour helpline. It also has links to wellbeing and training. Beyondblue support service helpline 1300 224 636
  • Black Dog Institute has great information on bipolar disorder.
  • Headspace is a website designed specifically to provide information and support about mental health problems for young people.
  • Head to Health is managed by the Australian Department of Health with input from people with lived experience and provides links to mental health organisations, evidence-based apps and online programmes, forums, phone and email chat services.
  • Heads Up provides tools for individuals and businesses on how to create more mentally healthy workplaces.
  • Mensline Australia provides information and 24-hour counselling service for men with relationship or family concerns.
  • PANDA provides information and support for women, men and families affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in first year of parenthood.
  • SANE provides information and support about complex mental health conditions.
  • Schizophrenia 24x7 has information about schizophrenia for people with schizophrenia as well as family and carers of people with schizophrenia.
  • This Way Up is run by the Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression in Sydney and offers free information on anxiety disorders and depression. 
  • Mental Health First Aid teaches people the skills to help someone who they're concerned about.
  • Alcohol and Drug Foundation has information and resources on alcohol and other drugs, links to research, journals and more.
  • The Butterfly Foundation is a nationwide advocacy and support organisation for people with eating disorders and their carers. Ph: 1800 33 4673.
  • National Eating Disorder Collaboration provides up-to-date, evidence-based information on eating disorders. 
  • Lifeline 24-hour counselling and crisis support Lifeline has trained crisis support workers and is available 24/7. Helpline 131 114.
  • Mental Health crisis numbers:
    • ACT: Mental Health Triage Service, 24/7 1800 629 354 OR (02) 6205 1065
    • NSW: Ring nearest hospital or Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
    • NT: NT Mental Health Services 1800 682 288
    • QLD: Ring nearest hospital, Emergency Services 000 or Lifeline 13 11 14
    • SA: Mental Health Triage Service 13 14 65
    • TAS: Mental Health Services Helpline 1800 332 388 (9am-11pm) or nearest hospital
    • VIC: SuicideLine 1300 651 251 or nearest hospital crisis team
    • WA: Mental Health Emergency Response Line 1300 555 788 (metro only) or 1800 676 822 (Peel area). Elsewhere call RuralLink 1800 552 002

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