Statistically, mental health disorders affect one in every four people in South Africa. This means that the daily lives of more people than we probably expect are affected in varying degrees. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on those with pre-existing mental health conditions and has also seen many more developing mental health issues due to financial stress and the uncertainty of what the future holds.
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) has drawn a link between overwhelmed hospitals due to the COVID-19 pandemic and healthcare workers suffering ‘burnout’.
Burnout, which refers to mental and physical exhaustion, is a real syndrome. In May 2019, the World Health Organization recognised it as an “occupational phenomenon” caused by chronic stress in the workplace.
What causes burnout?
Here are some of the leading causes:
- being overwhelmed by work responsibilities.
- work demands that consistently exceed the amount of energy you have available.
- feel deeply disillusioned by your efforts at work failing to produce intended or expected results.
- lack of a healthy balance between work life and personal life.
- feeling not in control of your work.
- monotony of work tasks.
How can you beat burnout?
- Manage the stressors: Identify those things that are fuelling your burnout. Once you know them, you can begin addressing the issues.
- Evaluate your options: Discuss your concerns with your manager and find ways manage expectations or reach compromises.
- Adjust your attitude: If you have become cynical and overly critical at work, consider ways to improve your outlook, such as taking short breaks throughout the day or rediscovering enjoyable aspects of your work.
- Seek support: Reach out to co-workers, friends or loved ones.
- Assess your interest: Introspection is key. Perhaps you should consider an alternative job, such as one that is less demanding or one that better matches your interests or core values.
- Get some exercise: There is no escaping this one, is there? Regular physical activity can help you effectively deal with stress. It will also help you get your mind off work and focus on something else.
- Get more sleep: Sleeps restores well-being and helps protect your health. You should aim for at least 7-8 hours each night.
- Get organized: Clear your head. Put together a to-do list and give your mind the reward of ticking items off.
As from 1 January 2021, Bestmed partnered with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) to offer a 24-hour mental health helpline, with the aim of supporting members that are experiencing mental health issues by managing its effects, providing additional support and improving quality of life.
This offering forms a part of the Bestmed Tempo wellness programme offered to all registered beneficiaries across all our 13 benefit options. Members will not incur any additional costs for utilising these services, except if they consult with a mental health professional on a personal basis and/or as referred by the SADAG counsellor.
How will it work?
Members will have access to SADAG’s telephone counselling and support services, 24 hours a day via the:
- dedicated toll-free helpline (080 062 7775) and/or
- SMS (43323) and/or
- email address (email@example.com)
After providing detailed information to the SADAG counsellor and undergoing the screening process to determine the status of the call or electronic query (SMS/email) the counsellor will provide the member with practical advice, referrals, resources and an action plan based on his/her unique needs.
Referrals to resources include, but are not limited to, support groups, mental health professionals (subject to available benefits), treatment centres and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Members will also have access to SADAG’s online services such as the website, online videos, weekly Facebook expert chats and webinars.
For queries regarding this benefit, please contact Bestmed Contact Centre on 086 000 2378 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.