Rx FOR GOOD MENTAL HEALTH
`Good news is there is help'
“We all have those workdays when we want to pull the covers over our heads and sleep in. When those become more often than not, that is a sign of concern. We have to do self-reflection and ask, `what is the problem? Why am I not wanting to go into work?'” says Tammy Kotyk, integrated director, Community and Outpatient Mental Health Services, Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare, Canadian Mental Health Association, Windsor-essex County Branch.
“Even more concerning is when people start isolating themselves at work, they have decreased productivity, they are increasingly late, having problems with coworkers and lashing out. Then, at the end of the spectrum, you see a decrease in morale, lack of personal hygiene, sometimes destructive, over-reactive types of behaviours. These are mental health warning signs to watch for in yourself and your co-workers.”
Often, it is a work colleague who first notices someone isn't their usual self.
“Sometimes, you can put on a good show for your family,” Kotyk says. “Work may be the key stressor and triggering behaviours that are visible” during a long workday.
Or maybe the underlying cause is abuse or some other personal problem at home which is prompting the sick calls. Perhaps the persistent blues or irritability is down to the ongoing tension of trying to balance work and home life in a pandemic.
“Anxiety, depression and substance abuse are the three top things coming through the door of the Mental Health and Addictions Urgent Care Centre in Windsor,” says Kotyk. “Addictions are on the rise during COVID-19.”
“These aren't people already in the healthcare system with diagnoses, they are new.”
Job layoffs and loss, parents becoming teachers at home, empty nesters adapting to suddenly unemployed adult children coming back home, concerns over change of social status, missing normal activities they enjoyed before – just one can be one too many for an overwhelmed person.
“The good news in all of this is there is help,” Kotyk assures.
To safeguard and strengthen their mental health, workers can routinely do simple, positive things, including eating nutritious food, going for walks, taking up hobbies and relaxing before bedtime for a better sleep.
“Shut your phone off and limit time on social media – it can become an addiction,” Kotyk says. “Recognize your own limits. COVID-19 has shown us all selfcare is important.”
When mental health needs more than personal TLC, “acknowledge it and define it for what it is.”
Work may be the key stressor and triggering behaviours that are visible.
- TAMMY KOTYK