Practitioner self-care and peer support are popular practices and topics among our mental health clinician participants and enews readers. In 2020, we included a clinician-specific self-care tip with each monthly edition of MHPN Connect Enews to promote self-care as a year-round activity.
The self-care tips are by and for mental health practitioners or respected organisations who champion self-care for practitioners. We have collated the 11 self-care tips for our readers in this article for ease of access.
"Find a like-minded professional or group of professionals to do the journey with. People who can energise, support, celebrate and be there with you in the hard times".
— Robyn McKinnon, MHPN Network Coordinator, Launceston Perinatal and Mental Health Network, Tasmania
"Self-care does not have to mean being selfish or doing less, in fact, caring for self means you have the ability to do more!
Taking a moment to stop for a cuppa or a quiet sit can literally change the pace of your day. "
— Caroline Raphael, MHPN Network Coordinator, Lismore Mental Health Network, NSW
"One essential self-care practice for practitioners during this time could include connecting with each other regularly through online platforms. Perhaps starting a Facebook group or WhatsApp group, where practitioners are able to share ideas, resources, and create opportunities to debrief the difficult times or celebrate the wins."
— Sean Tonnet, MHPN Network Coordinator, Byron Bay Family & Relationships Network, NSW
"Growing Self Leadership: Turn your attention inwards. What sensations, images, feeling or thoughts do you notice right now? Notice how you feel towards that part of you? Treat that part like a person. Give that person inside you some compassion and comfort."
— Dave Williams, MHPN Network Coordinator, North Shore Internal Family Systems Network, Sydney
MHPN acknowledges that COVID-19 restrictions present a unique set of challenges. Self-care resources for practitioners are available, here are just a few:
"Try making a timetable for each day, including some exercise, enjoyable activities and relaxation".
— Coronavirus (COVID-19) Practitioner Self-Care Tips, Phoenix Australia, 2020
"First and foremost, it is important to have regular, good-quality supervision. Supervision has the very real potential to improve and maintain wellbeing, increase skills and enhance reflection".
— Ann Evans, InPsych, 2015
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and Black Dog Institute are among several partners who have created The Essential Network (TEN) app for health professionals.
TEN is an e-health hub and app which connects health workers to specialist mental health advice and triaged support to ensure access to the help they need when they need it most. It’s been designed by health professionals, for health professionals.
"Become familiar with the literature on occupational risk for psychologists and pursue continuing education on these topics".
— American Psychological Association
"As it is, some of the tasks of our daily lives are indeed self-care activities, but others need to be added to our everyday routines. Others which when undertaken as a self-care activity and done with that as the intention, have the potential to sustain our overall health and wellbeing". Read more...
The Pandemic Kindness Movement is a self-care initiative by and for mental health clinicians across Australia. The movement aims to provide health workers with resources that offer support they need. Learn more...