Why Leadership in Mental Health Care Is Needed Now More Than Ever — and How to Implement Change - Corwin Harper

Before the pandemic, when mental health was brought up, there would be stigmas around it. It would be categorized as an excuse people use when they are not productive. People often underestimate the effects of poor mental health because they probably never experienced it or they don’t understand it. Today, after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now a normalized topic. I recently read an article published by Harvard, Why Leadership in Mental Health Care Is Needed Now More Than Ever — and How to Implement Change by Katherine J. Igoe, which elaborates on the importance and challenges of mental health.

“COVID, structural racism, health inequality, climate change, and all of these concurrent health, economic, and social crises are intersecting as a set of epidemics to constitute an ongoing kind of synergistic epidemic that we’re giving the name of syndemic.”

During the pandemic, many have been dealt with a hard hand, whether they were laid-off, losing homes, financially struggling, or needing to adapt to the then-new normal. But for sure, everyone was mentally struggling to figure things out since a pandemic was something they have never experienced before. However, these circumstances, it has helped generalize the topic of mental health. Even though there were still stigmas surrounding it, it decreased. It showed that mental health was a condition that needed to be attended to.

“In fact, what most people need are psychological and social interventions that are delivered by non-specialists, people like community health workers, peer support workers, and a range of other general health workers.”

Personally, contributing to over 35 years of experience in various areas, from healthcare systems to fiduciary and governance to economic development, I strongly believe that mental health is an area that should be explored and understood. People who are going through mental health struggles, sometimes just need to be lent a listening ear. Through their experience and struggle, we are able to empathize with and create a safe space for them to be their true self.

“To me, this is what leadership is about — embracing a rights-based approach to mental health problems that twins the right to quality care with the right to agency, citizenship, or inclusion.”

As leaders, it takes one to have humanity and compassion to create a more empathetic world. We are human and have emotions, sometimes emotions that cannot be described but most importantly, it’s being there for them that matters the most. It is our responsibility as leaders to make sure that the team functions healthily and cooperation takes place in order for work to be of quality.

Click here to read the full article.

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