Mental Health challenges of Mentoring in the unprecedented times of the pandemic

Posted on: September 26th, 2021 by Zelluyah Gaitho

Having a supportive mentor is priceless. A mentor shares knowledge, experience-based guidance and shares constructive feedback with the mentee. Mentorship requires commitment, time and a partnership that fosters the employee’s growth. Most people attribute their growth in having had good guidance from a mentor. Mentoring experiences have a long-lasting impact and many organizations recognize and support mentoring to help the growth of younger or new employees. A good mentoring relationship emphasizes on having a good collaboration between a mentor and a mentee. Both the mentor and the mentee should be actively engaged and maintain good communication.
Successful mentorship can help one glide through success while reducing the impact of setbacks. With every success comes mistakes, failures, setbacks and a mentor can provide motivation for they might have already gone through the same experience and can help one overcome the uncertainty of the journey. Their vision is far sighted, and they can have practical advice on how to overcome every stumbling block.
Mental health has been receiving increasing attention over the years and unstable and unsupportive workplaces can lead to higher levels of work-related stress, increased absenteeism and mental health problems. Considering mental health can impact the overall health of individuals, mentoring is very important for both providers and other employees. The current mental health system struggles to provide access and adequate services to people who suffer from mental health issues. Those who work in mental health face challenges like safety, patient dissatisfaction and having to deal with fragmented care. There are already scant resources in mental health and the pandemic has stretched an already stressed system. There has been an increased need for mental health services and mental health professionals are working under extreme pressure to provide care and try to create a balance in their own personal and professional life. Moral dilemmas are unavoidable and there is an urgent need to provide support to the healthcare professionals in order to minimize psychological impact.
Having a good mentor can improve job satisfaction, job performance and decrease employee turnover. Some of the challenges that have arisen recently is, organizations trying to cope with the pandemic, decreased networking opportunities and having to be flexible with the pandemic restrictions of working remotely. As a result, mentoring opportunities have decreased and mentoring has become more challenging.
What is needed more than ever is more mentoring opportunities due to the heightened levels of stress. A lot of people are carrying both personal and professional burdens during this difficulty time. A mentor at this time can serve as a stabilizing force and a support system in order to focus on what is important. After all, there is humanity in each one of us and we must be sensitive to the things that are affecting others. Currently, mentors need to lead with caring and focus on helping others maintain a work-life balance.
It has never been more important to provide mentorship, so mentors need to adjust how they mentor during this COVID-19 pandemic. Mentors should continue providing access, consistent conversations by utilizing more electronic communication be it via teleconferencing or telephone calls.
Zelluyah Gaitho APRN, Adult and Gerontology Primary Care NP-BC, PMHNP-BC, Eastern Kentucky University DNP Student.

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