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Surgeon General Mental Health

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As reported by NAM, 84% of workers claim one or more workplace factors negatively impacted their mental health, and the nation’s top physician wants to help.

At Nationwide Children’s and Otterbein on October 18, he presented his Framework for Workplace Mental Health and well-being. This framework includes Five Essentials that leaders from organizations of any size can use to reimagine and revitalize their cultures.

Prevention

The Office of the Surgeon General has long been considered an instrument in national public health policy. Through landmark reports addressing tobacco, AIDS, and mental health, it has helped bring greater understanding to issues that impact populations across America. Today, its work continues to produce scientifically rigorous documents that stimulate discussion on critical public health topics.

The newly released surgeon general mental health framework details five essentials workplaces can use to promote and support employees’ mental health and well-being, including protection from harm, connection and community, work-life balance, mattering at work, and growth opportunities.

At the core of the Surgeon General’s framework for mental health in the workplace is protecting workers from injuries, such as physical injuries or death caused by hazardous working conditions. Furthermore, employees may experience psychological suffering due to discrimination, emotional hostility, and bullying in their working environments.

As concerns continue to mount over the harmful impact of stressful and unhealthy workplace environments on their employees, the National Academy of Medicine issued a report calling on employers and healthcare stakeholders nationwide to do more to support employees’ mental well-being in their workforces. Recent studies have reported significant levels of burnout and symptoms of depression among nurses, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals – an indication of mental illness in their workplace environment.

To this end, the surgeon general’s new mental health framework encourages employers to prioritize employee wellbeing by creating work environments that are safe and healthy and demonstrate care for employees. Furthermore, workplaces should offer more training on recognizing signs and symptoms of poor mental health in employees.

As part of our efforts to comply with the Surgeon General’s framework on mental health, OD’s Resilience Through Well-Being campaign launched this fall with tools and workshops tailored specifically for our community members to stay healthy and productive at work. It will emphasize all five of the Surgeon General’s Essentials throughout 2018 while offering additional support to colleagues and communities.

Early detection

Cancer screening aims to detect cancer at its early stages before symptoms emerge and may significantly improve survival, morbidity, and costs; early cervical cancer detection programs provide a prime example of its efficacy: they have significantly decreased mortality from this condition in countries that implemented widespread screening programs.

However, identifying asymptomatic patients can be challenging. An effective cancer screening strategy involves informing individuals about the risks and signs associated with their specific disease, encouraging them to seek medical evaluation when experiencing symptoms, and employing screening strategies designed to increase the chances of early diagnosis.

Though screening programs can be valuable tools in an early detection toolkit, they should not be confused with early diagnosis. Screening refers to the presumptive identification of undiagnosed disease among healthy, asymptomatic populations; it doesn’t always lead to earlier diagnoses. Various strategies are available for detecting early-stage disease in unsymptomatic people, such as physical examinations, laboratory tests, imaging procedures, and molecular biomarkers.

Some cancers, like lung and prostate cancers, respond well to early treatment when detected early; such treatments include surgery or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). However, other cancers, like ovarian and pancreatic cancers, tend to have less promising prognoses when detected at advanced stages.

Early detection remains a crucial component of cancer prevention and should never be underestimated in importance. While some profiteers have taken advantage of its value to offer scans and ultrasounds without consulting with doctors first, early detection remains an invaluable way to provide peace of mind and ease.

The Surgeon General and the National Academy of Medicine have called on healthcare organizations to promote employee mental health, particularly amid reports of physician burnout. Nationwide Children’s has responded by developing suicide prevention programs in schools, building one of the world’s most extensive pediatric research and treatment facilities called Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion, initiating the nationwide stigma-breaking movement On Our Sleeves, and much more.

Treatment

Surgeon General mental health requires an approach encompassing the whole person and offering appropriate recovery interventions, including psychotherapy, medication, school programs, substance abuse services, and community support groups for adults and children with behavioral and emotional problems. Unfortunately, widespread doubt about some mental illness treatments has long plagued efficacy research. In contrast, insurance practices that discriminate against those living with mental illness and popular attitudes can limit efforts to improve mental healthcare provision and continue to hamper attempts to make strides forward in providing quality mental healthcare services.

The Surgeon General recently issued a call to employers to strengthen the well-being of their workforces through an innovative new framework he unveiled with the National Academy of Medicine. Workplaces now have an opportunity to do just that.

This framework highlights five Essentials that leaders in workplaces of all sizes and industries can utilize to achieve equitable mental health support for workers’ mental well-being: protection from harm, connection and community, work-life harmony, mattering at work, and growth opportunities.

Nationwide Children’s is committed to the mental well-being and safety of its employees and those they serve. We’re pleased that we offer our employees access to a trained Mental Health Professional on staff who is there for them whenever they have questions or issues. They can access this resource through the intranet or call our Employee Assistance Line at 800-468-8797 for support.

In October 2022, the Surgeon General’s Office unveiled a framework focused on workplace well-being. This document includes Essentials leaders across workplaces can utilize to promote mental health and well-being for workers and communities. We’re thrilled to share this new document that can help create healthy and productive work environments. To learn more, visit Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well-being. This document is a great way for colleagues and managers to begin conversations about how we can support all workers’ mental well-being better!

Recovery

The ultimate aim is recovery for those with mental illnesses – leading a meaningful life despite symptoms and challenges. Beyond medication treatments, recovery often includes psychosocial therapy, peer support groups, lifestyle interventions, and community services that assist people to remain healthy and active. Good health habits, including regular physical activity, nutritious diet, quality sleep, and meaningful paid or volunteer work, are integral to recovery.

Over the past several years, our understanding of mental illness and recovery has changed profoundly. Now, more people than ever recognize it as an integral component of quality healthcare delivery; its new understanding has altered values, attitudes, and expectations regarding treatment for mental illnesses; it also allowed consumers to create their vision of recovery reflecting their personal experiences and values.

The new vision of recovery is founded upon the belief that every individual with mental illness will heal in ways unique to themselves and their family members. A transformed system will empower these individuals to choose treatments best suited to themselves and their family members. Consumer and family-centered care, shared decision-making, and consumer-directed support are core elements of this new vision of recovery. Implementation requires a significant shift in how mental health care is funded and delivered. Incentive systems must be adjusted to recognize agencies that show sustained improvement, while information about proven treatments must be communicated quickly to those providing care. A more equitable distribution of resources is necessary if Americans are to receive the care they require.

Nation’s doctors are at the forefront of fighting mental illness. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has prioritized bringing mental health issues into public awareness and raising awareness about how these conditions can impact all aspects of life. He has proven his leadership and service in areas like prevention, early detection, and treatment, as well as stigma reduction efforts; moreover, he recently issued his Framework for Mental Health and Well-Being in Workplace, which provides essential elements that workplaces of any size or industry can utilize as building blocks towards improving well-being in workplace environments.