Boosting Mental Health During COVID-19

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Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, there has been increased demand and strain on healthcare professionals around the world and throughout Ontario communities.

Expanded and persistent workloads can impact mental health, and pharmacy teams continue to manage increased responsibilities as they administer vaccines and provide care for a greater number of patients.

In recognition of World Mental Health Day on October 10, the College is sharing tools and resources to help pharmacy professionals manage burnout and build resilience.

Defining Burnout

According to the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases—the global standard for diagnostic health information—burnout is a syndrome that results from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

Burnout is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
  • reduced professional efficacy.

Taking Care and Building Resilience

Burnout Interventions

The best practice approaches for burnout are multi-faceted, involving a high focus on self-care strategies for the individual, and reducing work environment stressors.

As pharmacy professionals, it’s important to take care of yourself so you’re able to provide safe and quality patient care.

The Canadian Psychological Association’s fact sheet on workplace burnout offers tools to prevent and manage burnout for both individuals and employers.

Audience Action
  • Adjust work patterns, including taking breaks and avoiding overtime
  • Develop coping skills, including identifying top priorities and using time management skills
  • Prioritize self-care, including exercising, eating healthy and getting enough sleep
  • Enhance emotional intelligence skills, including self-awareness and self-regulation of emotions
  • Ensure employees have a sustainable and manageable workload – where demands are realistic
  • Involve employees in decisions that affect their work tasks so they have some opportunity to exercise professional autonomy and control/ability to access the resources necessary to do an effective job
  • Recognize and reward employees for work well done
  • Define organizational values, job goals and expectations
  • Promote good health (including mental health) and fitness

Mental Health Resources for Healthcare Professionals

The College has a partnership with Lifemark Health to provide pharmacy professionals with access to confidential mental health supports through the Ontario Pharmacy Health Program. Registrants can access this program directly and remain anonymous to the College.

Pharmacy Professionals are also encouraged to access mental health supports through their employers, private insurance or community-based health service providers including the Canadian Mental Health Association, CAMH and the Government of Ontario (supports for healthcare workers).

Provider Experience Indicators Consultation

Measuring the provider experience is one way the College can better understand the realities within community pharmacy and how their experiences may influence the safe delivery of pharmacy services to their patients. The College asked registrants to share their feedback on a shortlist of provider experience indicators—part of our Quality Indicators for Pharmacy initiative—which will help us identify actionable next steps to improve the experience of pharmacy professionals.

Feedback provided through this consultation will be analyzed and used to inform the final set of indicators to be shared later this year.

Stay tuned for more information on this and other initiatives, including the Community Practice Environment Initiative and implementation of accountability principles later this fall.

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