Civil servants are the underdogs of our society. They serve the public by working for the government and delivering policies. Civil servants tend to remain politically neutral so that they can properly assess the concerns of the public. However, the capacity to do good and care for others can cost them their mental health.
Being constantly exposed to negative news and traumatic situations can lead to deteriorating mental health and compassion fatigue. For this reason, mental health awareness is vital for civil servants. They are always the ones helping their community. This time, they are the ones in need of help.
The Challenges Civil Servants Face
As civil servants, they deliver public services and support the government in implementing policies. They are regularly in touch with their community about healthcare, education, and public spaces. These individuals must remain politically neutral to ensure justice and give unbiased attention to the public.
However, in many cases, civil servants are often placed in life-or-death situations, like domestic attacks and shootings. They commonly work with victims of assault and violence. As many as 29% of civil servants have spoken up about their mental health and how their overwhelming work has negatively affected their lives.
Their difficult and stressful work environment can have a major effect on their emotional well-being. They may feel responsible for something that isn’t their fault. Often, civil servants will absorb the intense emotional and physical distress from the people they help, which gives them Secondary Traumatic Stress.
Signs of Deteriorating Mental Health
When work starts to seep into a person’s life negatively, it can be difficult to perform and function well. Civil servants must always remain professional in their work. But waning mental health cannot allow them to do their best.
Some signs of deteriorating mental health in civil servants can include
- increased anxiety,
- sleeping problems,
- poor work performance, and
- getting easily agitated.
Compassion fatigue is also a common mental health condition among healthcare providers and civil servants. This condition stems from the exhaustion from doing acts of caring for others, resulting in a diminished ability to empathize.
Compassion Fatigue In Civil Servants
As civil servants, they must provide care for their community. Civil servants may constantly be exposed to the traumatic experiences of the people they provide for. So, this can lead to burnout and mental exhaustion.
Civil servants are at higher risk of developing compassion fatigue under intense situations like working with victims of domestic abuse, especially those coming from marginalized communities, such as the LGBTQ+ and African-American neighborhoods. These victims are not at fault for their trauma. Much of their experiences are out of anyone’s control.
But many civil servants can feel like they are responsible for the healing and emotional well-being of the people they work with. Some may feel dependent on their work and fail to develop a healthy emotional boundary. And they fail to realize that this is not sustainable in the long run.
Some civil servant positions are in healthcare and community service. These sectors have stressful work environments, making civil servants susceptible to developing compassion fatigue. Worse conditions can result in serious mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
For this reason, serious mental health conditions require urgent care. Contacting a therapist can help you recover from mental health issues you may be facing that negatively affect your work, life, and relationships. It’s important to always stay on top of things, especially for those in public service. But working to the point of severe exhaustion and fatigue is not for the good of others, especially yourself.
How Therapy Can Help
Seeking a mental health professional can be the best solution for civil servants who have deteriorating mental health. Even mental health professionals can suffer from compassion fatigue and anxiety from time to time. So, know that you are not alone. There is always help around you.
Because everyone has different tolerances for health concerns, many people in public service find it challenging to seek help. They may feel responsible for others’ emotional well-being. But that shouldn’t be the case at all.
It’s hard to stay in a work environment where you are constantly helping others as your job. But reaching out to mental health resources should not be a problem. Many mental health professionals will advise you on developing a better coping strategy when dealing with stress and traumatic situations that many civil servants face.
If you are experiencing mental distress from work, staying professional and responsible for your job can be difficult. It can negatively affect your judgment and perception, especially with the pressure of being in public service.
Therapy can help civil servants by creating a non-judgmental space to voice their concerns to a mental health professional freely. They can learn more and understand their compassion fatigue and what triggers them.
Developing healthier coping mechanisms is the goal of therapy. But to get there, seek help to get to the first step to healing. Here are other tips for taking care of your emotional well-being that your therapist may advise.
- Eating healthier
- Sleeping properly
- Exercising adequately
- Taking up a new hobby
- Seeking support from loved ones
Therapy can be perceived negatively, so seeking help can be challenging. However, in some cases, it may be urgent to contact a mental health professional. When your work starts to impact your daily life negatively, the problem becomes more grave.
Symptoms like being easily agitated or having poor judgment can be hard to deal with, especially with those you work with. Civil servants who have been constantly exposed to tragic situations may be vulnerable to stress and anxiety. Reaching out for help can be difficult, as they are usually the ones providing care for others.
Therapy can help you develop better-coping strategies to deal with your stress and compassion fatigue effectively. Learning more about your triggers and how you can understand yourself is beneficial for everyone involved, including your family and the people you work with.
Acknowledging you need help is the first step towards healing. Once you have properly recovered, you can provide the best public service for your community again. So don’t be afraid to ask for help.