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Pray tell, what is wellness?

You … never send me any of the new phrases of the town… Pray what is meant by wellness and unwellness?

(From History of Wellness, Global Wellness Institute)

Haha. The pendulum has certainly swung a bit towards cliché since Dorothy Osborne penned this to her husband Sir William Temple in 1655. The word may now be so common as to be boring, but the concept of wellness, the need for wellness, is as relevant as ever.

As such, we’ve added a few resources on mental health and well-being (Resources: Psychosocial…).

Mental health care for medical staff and affiliated healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Published in 2020 , we might be inclined to ignore it. Maybe the pandemic is over — by the way, where was the party? In Camus’ The Plague (La Peste), the besieged village endured their trial, the deaths and disruption of every aspect of life, and then it ended. The infection spent itself, they opened the doors of the city, and they partied. Why couldn’t we do that? But I digress — but it exposed, created, or exacerbated our stresses and struggles. The authors describe some of the manifestations of stress during the pandemic and, more importantly, some suggestions for addressing it in organizations, teams, colleagues, and ourselves.

Not confined to a certain event that may or may not be past, there are regardless “…opportunities at every level to make a difference to the mental health support of staff, and to identify and encourage opportunities to find growth and meaning in this situation. Our society should now regard these individuals as ‘gold dust’ and it is our duty to provide the support they deserve.”

Transformations and moral injury. The London transformation and learning collaborative offers a series of short videos discussing moral injury and our work in health care. The pandemic as a “slow burn mass casualty event” is a stress to society, of course. And there are unique stressors to health care workers, seeing as we are patients as well as responders to this event, in lives lost, and in past and ongoing psychological harms.

Let us do better: Learning lessons for recovery of healthcare professionals during and after COVID-19. The opening line of the abstract is incredibly poignant: "The COVID-19 pandemic emphasises the need to rethink and restructure the culture of healthcare organisations if we are to ensure the long-term well-being and mental health of healthcare provider organisations and their staff."

This article is from 2021, still during the pandemic. Its relevance continues to grow as the temptation to ‘go back to normal’ may threaten some of the opportunities to learn from our experience.

Principles of responding to people’s psychosocial and mental health needs in disaster. An older, not less important, paper. The authors offer “…guidance on how communities, regions, countries and groups of countries might respond to the threats to people’s psychosocial well-being and mental health that are posed by emergencies, major incidents, disasters of all kinds and conflict as well as terrorism.”

Take care might be a buzzword we've retained from the pandemic. I hope so. We need to take care of our organizations, our people, ourselves, and each other.

..the hour in which I am able to lose myself in someone else's thoughts is the greatest relief I can find from the burden of my own memories

(Geraldine Brooks, A year of wonders)

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