Talkspace Covers The Mental Health Issues Facing Essential Workers Due To Coronavirus
Since the coronavirus pandemic this year, our lives have experienced a shift in momentum. The virus has managed to slow the whole world down as most people and businesses experienced significant changes due to health safety measures. For us, most of us have to stay at home as much as possible and only go out for urgent work. Even as we move out, we take every precaution we can manage; we wear face coverings, carry alcohol-based sanitizers, and maintain social distance from other people. Even with the protection, we still get anxious when outside because there is no guarantee that we are entirely safe.
So imagine someone who has to go out every day and goes through the same dilemma you go through when you are outside. Imagine someone who has to go out and work, who cannot just stay at home because people depend on them. This person is what is called an Essential Worker. Most of us think that an essential worker only includes medical professionals at the front line fighting this disease and saving lives; they constitute an integral part of the crucial workers. But the list of people who fit the description is longer it includes; Bus drivers, hotel workers, cleaners, grocery store attendants, and any person allowed to work so that you can stay at home safely.
Essential workers go through many challenges throughout their day; they have to worry about their safety and their families’ safety and cannot allow themselves to be infected; these lead to extreme stress and anxiety. All this while still helping people and doing their jobs with a brave face.
Due to the nature of their work, most essential workers are at risk of experiencing mental health problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. An article from Talkspace outlines some of the things that put a strain on essential workers’ mental health.
Many essential workers live in a constant state of exhaustion due to the long working hours, fear of getting infected, and general anxiety; this has a massive impact on their mental state. Despite what they are going through, they still try to help others. However, many have started showing physical symptoms of depression by lacking an appetite for food and being unable to sleep or rest.
Some workers have to undergo self-isolation in their homes when they get back from work. They are always worried that they might have unintentionally brought the virus into their homes and put their families in danger. Until cleared, they cannot rest as they do not know if the symptoms will appear.
Some go into full quarantine lockdown when they get exposed to a dangerous situation at work. Studies have shown that total isolation has massive impacts on the physical and mental health of essential workers. It may cause PTSD, increased alcohol and drug abuse, and depression. These effects do not only impact the workers but also to their friends and families, and without help, the consequences may be permanent.
Essential workers are always afraid of their health. They are at the frontline battling the virus, and out there, infection is a real possibility. For health care workers who deal with infected people and gets to witness all the devastation it has caused, some end up with a strong sense of hopelessness and even cause panic attacks.
These three conditions are the main factors contributing to mental health deterioration for our essential workers. Most developed counties have put measures to provide mental health services to their workers but are not enough. Talkspace has a program that offers mental health services to first responders. Talkspace has also created a support group for people who need to talk about what they are going through. We can help by donating mental health sessions for medical workers, PPEs, and creating community awareness for mental health among essential workers.