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Comment on “The Self-Care of Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals” (Dattilio, 2015)—Working With the Mentally Ill Is a Mental Health Hazard: What Can We Do About It?
Australian Psychologist
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2015
Pages: 400 - 404
Source ID: shanti-sources-109456
Abstract: It has been known for many decades that the risk of burnout, psychological distress, mental illness, or suicidal ideation is higher in mental health professionals (MHP) compared with many other professions and the general population; however, MHPs often disregard their own mental health for the sake of helping others, sometimes with fatal consequences. Paradoxically MHP tends to avoid seeking professional help for their own mental health issues. Apart from the serious risk to one's health that this poses, MHPs are now mandated to report any impairment that affects their ability to practice. The aim of this commentary is to emphasise the heightened risk of mental illness among MHP, and includes some risk factors associated with burnout, psychological distress, or mental illness in MHP. It explores some of the barriers to help seeking, including stigma, and highlights mindfulness as a self-care strategy to prevent psychological distress and burnout. The commentary makes recommendations for inclusions into current psychology postgraduate as well as undergraduate curriculum. It concludes with recommendation for suitable support from professional bodies to help maintain good mental health and to help prevent mental illness among MHPs.