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3 Key Focus Areas for Mental Health Awareness Month
For pharmacy professionals, wellness is not only care for self, but care for patients and teams.
Mental health is an important component to our overall health and wellness. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 1 in 5 adults live with a mental illness of some kind. Beyond mental illness, and it’s direct or indirect impact on an individual, balancing social and emotional well-being is incredibly important.
Each May marks Mental Health Awareness Month. Where we recognize the need for balance and wellness in our own lives, as well as those around us. For pharmacy professionals, it’s not only care for self, but care for patients and teams. That’s a lot to balance for anyone.
Here are some of our favorite resources and tips on improving the wellness of everyone in your pharmacy family, including yourself.
Pharmacists Jeff Robins and Harry Jablonski are experts in improving patient health and well-being through drug induced nutrient depletion counselling. They recently shared some inspiration on helping patients feel better. This quote from Jeff Robins says it all. “Stop and watch your patients walk in and out of your pharmacy door. Notice them limping and notice them breathing hard and using canes. The reality is our patients come to us because they are sick, but they don’t know they can get better. I believe it is our moral and ethical duty to give them the information to let them know that they don’t have to be sick the rest of their lives. They can live absolutely vivacious lives.”
Harry and Jeff also encourage pharmacists to get out from behind the counter and talk to patients. No matter your pharmacy business model, there are opportunities to help patients feel better. He noted that nutrient depletion counselling is a great place to start and can open doors to so many more conversations and opportunities.
(For more patient wellness inspiration you can see our full interview with Jeff and Harry here!)
Employee burnout is real. Stress, or unhappy working environments can cause turnover which eats up your time and money. High turnover also impacts the customer experience. In short, you want to do everything you can to keep your employees happy and healthy. This task goes far beyond a paycheck. Here are the key employee wellness areas to focus on.
- Communication – Always over-communicate and keep the lines open and flowing in both directions. Be vulnerable and authentic by sharing your own challenges, struggles and concerns. Meet regularly and have dedicated times where employees can come to you with concerns or difficulties.
- Exercise - Exercise leads to healthier employees in every way. Including mentally. Set daily goals and make it fun for your team. Try team workout challenges or partnering with local fitness professionals for after hours classes. Also offer stretch breaks for team members who spend long hours in a mostly stationary position.
- Food - All that exercise might make your team a little hangry. Providing healthy snacks and drinks in the break room goes a long way towards keeping employees happy. Consider bringing in breakfast, lunch or dinner for the team to share. Keep it simple with Pizza, bagels or even just coffee. Do be careful of caffeine in the afternoons to avoid potential lost sleep.
- Rewards & Recognition -Keep your employees and give them an extra boost by giving them the recognition they deserve. This can be as simple as making sure employees use their vacation time. You can also consider bonuses and raises where possible, but remember that recognition goes beyond the paycheck. Be intentional about recognizing specific accomplishments from your employees. Have team members recognize each other as well. You can even record a video to send to that team member to really brighten their day.
When it comes to personal wellness, it’s easy to de-prioritize. But everything that is important to pharmacy teams and to patients applies to pharmacist, owners and managers too. Don’t leave yourself out of the equation when you consider employee wellness programs and the all-important balance factor.
Find ways to streamline time consuming processes. Delegate and empower your employees when it makes sense. This will enable you to focus on patient care and the why behind your career choice.
If you’re looking for more on how to prioritize your personal and professional goals, check out this 7-minute video from the master of life-work balance, Giovanni Livera.