Mental health of public employees, to the limit

“Having worked as a nurse all my life, After I got past the first phase of the pandemic, I started noticing spikes in anxiety at different times of the day without any association. and I started waking up at different times at night with recurring nightmares that had nothing to do with the problems in my life,” says a professional from the Murcian Health Service. Anonymous testimony of the Central Independent Union and Authorities (CSIF) compiled for the preparation of his study on public workers and psychoactive substance consumption.

Encarna Abascal, CSIF’s secretary of labor prevention, provided us with this testimony and gave us more details about this investigation, which identified the following. 45% of public employees consume anxiolytics, antidepressants and sleeping pills almost every day, among others: “The working conditions and human resources of the Public Administration are what they are, and in most cases as a result of the volume of work. epidemic is overloaded. We must add to all these the impact they have had on sectors such as health, that with everything they have seen and experienced in these two years, they have been able to produce post-traumatic stress and unsolved problems, and new conditions are added day by day.” MORE 65 YEARS CSIF employee.

What Abascal recounts perfectly describes how the nurse from the Murcian Health Service felt:At first I didn’t care as I thought it was the stress of the job.and the truth is that today, more than a year after the onset of symptoms, I don’t feel well. I have a feeling of anguish. I used to like my job but now I feel anxiety and sufferingand thoughts that I had during that season come to my mind and I constantly wake up at night, ”says the woman.

And according to research, The majority profile is a woman aged 45-54, a public health worker or an education centre. Consuming anxiolytics on a daily basis because they are overworked or feel they lack professional recognition. The CSIF employee wanted to make a statement: “The emergence of a woman as the majority profile has to do with the average of the most active working population on the one hand, and feminization on the other. from sectors that give us more responsiveness, such as health or education. But this means that women are more It doesn’t mean she has emotional weakness, it’s just that as industries with more women we get more responses from them,” says Abascal.

But that’s not all: “The family burden of women should also be taken into account.They are usually the ones who take on this role. Nor should we forget cases of workplace abuse where people need medication to emotionally manage the situation.”

Study Results

According to the survey, the most commonly consumed psychoactive drugs are anxiolytics (66%), antidepressants (43.6%) and sleeping pills (32.1%). In addition, more than half of the respondents (51%) claim that they consume these drugs every day, 13% several times a week, 21% once a month, and 15% in the last year.

76% state that the work affects them while consuming these substances.: 54.2 percent associate it with excessive workload, 44.6 percent with insufficient professional recognition and 37.7 percent with a bad working environment (conflicts, harassment situations, etc.).

Moreover, 21.22 percent associate the use of these drugs with job insecurity (temporary, interim, etc.), 20.6 percent have problems with the users they serve, and 12.6 percent have economic problems.

The biggest problem with teachers is that they feel that they do not receive support from the center, especially with parents, they pay more attention to their children than the teacher, except for the bureaucracy that can exist today and affect stress and anxiety,” says Abascal.

Invest in mental health

More than half (55 percent) of those surveyed admitted that they had not used this drug prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, while 93 percent complained of lack of health centers. on the protection Sanity: “If there are some of your employees taking antidepressants or anxiolytics, we should ask ourselves how our employees are doing.. Of course, as far as civil servants are concerned, the situation in Spain at the moment is exorbitant and has had a lot of impact,” says Abascal.

These results came as a big surprise to the team, especially when they realized that the pandemic was making the situation worse: “The number of drug users is very high”and certainly we must take into account not only the labor factor, but also the family and personal factors of each and how the pandemic and economic crisis we are experiencing has affected us, ”says the CSIF employee.

“What affects us is that Adequate measures were not implemented due to lack of interest in monitoring mental health or approve prevention and intervention plans against addictive substances or behaviors, which is something we want to include, because a person on medication sometimes does not show the same attention or the same type of management and needs to adapt,” says Abascal.


And this many timesPrecautions are taken when injury to the worker has already occurred. or worker, instead of applying actual prevention, it is very important to emphasize that mental health surveillance should be done to see if that person has been harmed in some way, because if not, what we do is patching and you can adapt later, not hard”, says the worker.

After consulting a specialist, I was diagnosed with anxiety-depressive syndrome.And the only trigger is the pandemic because at a professional level we healthcare professionals have gone through a period of uncertainty, not knowing what will happen, whether we will get sick and die, whether our families will get sick or not. in danger because of our job… It was a nightmare and the psychological consequences are obvious. It’s true that normalcy is here, but there are still signs of this stress and not knowing what to expect,” the nurse says.

And they will continue to happen “if no action is taken”. While there are people who go to a psychology professional to help them manage on their own, if nothing changes, we will find very high absenteeism due to depression and anxiety issues, and when stress becomes chronic, it becomes more complex to manage. because one is already outdated and that is not a healthy business model”, warns the CSIF employee.

The nurse’s statement and study data are alarming and the situation will only get worse if real and urgent action is not taken. Experts already explain, The new pandemic will be mental health, if not yet..

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