World Mental Health Day: Clinicians, Don’t Pour From An Empty Cup
Written by Kelsey Someliana-Lauer, Therapy Practice Solutions Virtual Assistant
World Mental Health Day in 2022 is October 10th. Today, clinicians and other content creators seek to raise awareness about the importance of mental health. If you’re a mental health clinician, however, mental health day is everyday - you’re always raising awareness with your clients!
This year, the World Health Organization, who largely runs World Mental Health Day, released a statement about the goals of 2022’s celebration. The first goal of World Mental Health Day in 2022 is to acknowledge the impact of COVID-19. Next, the WHO highlighted the growing societal conflict, including violence and economic conflict, occurring throughout 2021 and 2022. Finally, WHO acknowledges that discrimination and stigma against mental health care are still barriers to people receiving mental health treatment in 2022.
While all of these objectives are great, the pros at Therapy Practice Solutions are adding one more - we’d like to acknowledge how hard the previous few years have been for mental health practitioners themselves! With the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19, a sudden shift to a virtual world, and increased societal disrest (like mass shootings and legal rights battlegrounds), 2020-2022 has been especially rough on mental health therapists. Therapists have been one of the workers in the front line of these conflicts as there has been a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide in the last year. Clinicians deserve recognition!
In honor of you, here are three ways to take care of yourself as a mental health therapist in 2022:
Remember “Small” Acts of Self-Care
We put “small” in quotes as therapists well know - are there really any insignificant types of self-care? Let this serve as a reminder: self-care doesn’t have to be a vacation, working out every day, or buying a cupcake occasionally. Self-care can be eating three meals a day. It can be clocking out for a full hour at lunchtime. Self-care can be setting boundaries to maintain your work-life balance, such as not answering emails after you finish for the day. It can be asking for help (especially from a Virtual Assistant!).
This is a reminder that self-care isn’t just grand gestures - it’s consistently showing up for yourself and your needs, especially in a field dedicated to the needs of the client.
Make a Plan to Avoid Burnout
One study suggests the rate of burnout in the mental health field is anywhere between 21% and 76% - and we’d be willing to bet it’s toward the 76% estimate. It’s no surprise that burnout and compassion fatigue are so prevalent in the mental health counseling field; everyday we hear about something weighing others’s down!
Planning is absolutely essential to preventing burnout. If you’re a private practice clinician, that may look like determining how many clients feel sustainable for you and making a budget around your income, instead of making a schedule around your desired salary. It can also look like joining a group practice if you want more support, or finding a consultation group you really enjoy to feel supported. Take a moment to reflect on what is or could make you feel burned out, and plan your solutions accordingly.
Commit to Your Boundaries
We mentioned boundaries in the self-care section, but boundaries are so important they’re worth mentioning again! Boundaries help us prevent burnout, are a source of self-care, and establish expectations for ourselves.
A boundary can look like a time boundary - for example, I will see 20 clients a week and no more. A boundary can look emotional - like making sure you’re not doing more work than the client is, or ensuring you’re seeking your own therapy. A boundary can be physical - if you work at home, maybe setting up a dedicated office space away from your personal space (for example, some clinicians feel making their office space in their bedroom feels like inviting their clients into an intimate part of their lives, plus trying to achieve good rest in your “office space” can be a challenge!). Regardless of what your boundaries look like, we encourage you to make them and commit fully to them.
In honor of World Mental Health Day in 2022, Therapy Practice Solutions wants to emphasize: you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself. It’s been a hard set of years for everyone, but especially for mental health clinicians. If you’re looking for a teammate to help offset your workload, look no further than TPS. Reach out today to be paired with a Virtual Assistant who can help with your social media, blogs, website design, insurance verification and billing, scheduling, email/phone call returns, and even typing your progress notes. We look forward to hearing from you!