Mental health has become an issue that our society is starting to open up about – finally. The stigma of mental health problems has often kept those who struggle in the dark, afraid to talk about or address those issues as though they are something that undermines an individual’s character, which we know is simply not true.
Mental health has been brought to the forefront of our minds through campaigns such as Bell Let’s Talk, which have been widely shared on social media. As these campaigns have gained momentum over the past decade, a safe space has been created for individuals to talk about their own mental health. More people understand that you can deal with these disorders while still being a high-functioning person, and that they are not a reason to view someone in a negative way.
Mental Health while Travelling
Coping with mental health issues can be difficult, especially in a profession like nursing where you need to bring your A-game to work every day. Nurses can also find their mental health is affected by their work, which will inherently have some pretty rough days. When you find yourself in a rough patch, it can be easy to focus on what you didn’t do right. But ask your how many times you did measure up vs. how many times you didn’t – you save lives every day! While it can be easy to focus on the a negative that is right in front of us, we need to give the positives just as much of a voice and spotlight in our mind. Keep them front and centre.
As fantastic as it is, travel nursing can be strenuous on your mental health. Some of us can experience travelling anxiety while nursing on placement. So it is also important to know how to take care of your mental health while travelling. Remember to take time for self-care (rest, exercise, seeing a doctor or therapist) whenever you feel yourself start to need it. Catch it early.
Signs of Mental Health Issues
Even if you don’t struggle with your own mental health, looking out for your colleagues is a great way to help. Knowing the signs that someone is facing suicide is important:
- withdrawal from family, friends or activities
- feeling like you have no purpose in life or reason for living
- increasing substance use, like drugs, alcohol and inhalants
- feeling trapped or that there’s no other way out of a situation
- feeling hopeless about the future or feeling like life will never get better
- talking about being a burden to someone or about being in unbearable pain
- anxiety or significant mood changes, such as anger, sadness or helplessness
Take Care and Take Action
On top of recognizing the signs, it’s important to take action, because often when we do see the signs, we deny their existence or that the situation is as critical as it is. You can help by:
- listening and showing concern
- showing concern can be an immediate way to help someone
- listening won’t increase the risk of suicide and it may save a life
- talking with them and reassuring them that they’re not alone
- letting them know you care
- connecting them with a:
- crisis line
- trusted person (neighbour, friend, family member or Elder)
Resources for Travel Nurses
To learn more about mental health or how to take care of your mental health while travelling, check out these resources:
- Mental health support: Get help
- Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention – Crisis centres across Canada
- How to help a veteran who is in crisis
- Mental health services available to RCMP employees
- Mental health resources for Canadian Armed Forces members and families
- Mental health and wellness for First Nations and Inuit
- Culture for Life
- We Matter
- The Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention-Progress Report 2018
- Working Together to Prevent Suicide in Canada: the Federal Framework for Suicide Prevention
- Overview of Federal Initiatives in Suicide Prevention
Think a change of pace in your career might be good for your own mental health? Connect with us to learn more about travel nursing jobs in Canada.