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Expert Voices

A Message for Humanitarian Workers on World Mental Health Day

By Sandra Githaiga, Clinical Program Director
Published October 10, 2023

In the midst of our tireless efforts to make a positive impact on the lives of those in need, it’s crucial to acknowledge and prioritize our own mental well-being. Today, I want to emphasize the importance of taking a moment for ourselves and celebrating Mental Health Day.

As humanitarian workers, we face unique challenges, witness the depths of human suffering and at times are directly impacted. It is only natural that our own mental health may sometimes feel strained. That’s why it’s essential to recognize the significance of self-care, compassion, and resilience.

Today, I encourage each and every one of you to take a well-deserved break from your daily responsibilities. Whether it’s a few hours or minutes or seconds, use this time to focus on your mental well-being in whatever way feels right for you.

1. Unplug and Recharge: Disconnect from work-related technologies and allow yourself to unwind. Spend quality time with loved ones, engage in activities that bring you joy or simply enjoy some blissful solitude.

2. Engage in Self-Care: Treat yourself to activities that nourish your mind, body and soul. Be it exercise, meditation, reading a book, taking a long bath, or indulging in a hobby, prioritize activities that promote relaxation and rejuvenation.

3. Reflect and Process: Take this opportunity to reflect on your experiences, emotions and achievements. Journaling, talking with a trusted friend or seeking professional support can provide valuable outlets for processing and growth.

4. Laugh and Find Joy: Seek out moments of laughter and joy. Engage in activities that bring a smile to your face, watch a favorite comedy or share lighthearted moments with your colleagues. Laughter truly is the best medicine!

5. Connect and Support: Reach out to your colleagues and share your experiences, challenges and triumphs. Connect with others who understand the unique nature of our work and extend support to one another.

Remember, taking care of your mental health is not a luxury but a necessity. By prioritizing our well-being, we are better equipped to continue making a positive impact on the lives of those we serve.

By prioritizing our well-being, we are better equipped to continue making a positive impact on the lives of those we serve.”

On this Mental Health Day, let us celebrate our resilience, strength and unwavering commitment to humanitarian work. Together, we can create a supportive environment where our mental well-being is valued and nurtured.

Thank you for your dedication, compassion and hard work. Take this moment to recharge and return with renewed energy and passion to continue making a difference.

About The Author
Sandra Githaiga
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