5 Reasons Mental Health Awareness Matters for Healthcare Professionals

May 1, 2024


Megan Bebout


When you think about your health, what's your first thought? What springs to mind may include the main, overarching physical aspects of health — the things you eat, how often you exercise, and whether your body is prone to illness. But what if when you think about health, you included mental well-being in the equation?

Before we jump into the depths of mental health and mental health awareness, it’s important to establish that these can be tough conversations to have with ourselves and each other, but it’s worth talking about. Let’s learn about some of the top reasons why mental health awareness is important, even for health professionals like you.


5 Reasons Mental Health Awareness Matters for Healthcare Professionals


Mental health awareness reduces stigma

People who suffer from mental illnesses and conditions can often feel alone and stereotyped because of the stigma that’s tied to the topic. Even worse, the belief that mental health is something to be kept secret can further hinder those struggling, even to the point where they may feel uncomfortable and embarrassed to seek any treatment at all. Feelings of shame caused by stigma are powerful.

Mental health awareness is a relatively new concept. Until 1955, mental health wasn’t considered part of healthcare at all. Back in those days, people suffering from a mental health condition were institutionalized without real help for their mental health condition. Even today, more than half of the people with poor mental health and lack of mental health awareness don’t receive help due to stigma, prejudice, and discrimination.

Related: 4 Ways Healthcare Professionals Can Boost Mental Health Resilience

As part of the medical community, you can reduce stigma by sharing the importance of mental health awareness and providing safe places for others to seek support. In doing so, you can not only increase your well-being but the well-being of others around you, as well.

Luckily, recent years have come with more opportunities to be louder and quicker to shine a light on mental health awareness, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month. Not only that but mental health is being recognized as a huge factor in our overall well-being in nations across the globe.

Mental health awareness raises awareness

Discussing both good mental health and poor mental health can help raise awareness and show that there are others who struggle like you or someone you love. Having a sense of community can reduce mental health stigma because it allows you to be part of a group without feeling self-conscious and alone.

Plus, mental health awareness helps to improve your understanding of mental health and increases your knowledge about what it means to care for your own mental health needs. And if you’re not affected by mental illness firsthand, an increase in awareness and discussion never hurts.

By increasing mental health awareness, you become part of the solution and help keep everyone well-informed on risks, symptoms, treatment, and prevention. When we talk openly about mental health, everyone can better receive the help they need without shame.

Mental health awareness normalizes mental health care

GettyImages-1649071889-min (1)Almost everyone is affected by mental illness. Whether you’re personally going through it or have a loved one who’s struggling, strong mental health is important to everyone.

Recent National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) statistics found that nearly 53 million Americans (aka, 1 in 5 U.S. adults) experience a mental health disorder in any given year. According to the World Health Organization, the most common mental health conditions are anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.

The unfortunate news is these statistics are fairly conservative since other studies show that stigma can reduce the number of people who come forward about their mental illness. For instance, there are treatments to cope with anxiety, but only 37% of those affected with a mental health disorder actually get the help they may need.

By normalizing mental health care, it becomes more and more accepted throughout society. Like most things in life, this is easier said than done. So, if you’re wondering how to normalize and highlight the importance of mental health care in your life, here are some suggestions:

🧠 Check in on your loved ones on a deeper level

🧠 Speak openly about your own personal mental health experiences

🧠 Promote mental health discussions in the workplace

🧠 Make an effort to improve the language used around mental health

Mental health awareness encourages treatment

Another perk to opening up about mental health is it can build a bridge for others seeking help. Receiving treatment for mental health problems is crucial — people who live with mental health conditions are more likely to develop other medical conditions like heart disease and cancer, so talking about mental health and shedding light on mental health awareness is an excellent first step in helping to improve someone’s life and overall health. 

Think about it like this: when you break a bone, what do you do? You go to your friendly local healthcare provider and receive treatment. Of course, the type of treatment you receive will depend on what part of your body is broken. For example, was it a clean break or a comminuted fracture? Will surgery be required to place pins and screws for added support? If you or someone you know breaks a bone, our initial thought is to talk to a medical professional.

Now, replace a broken bone with symptoms of depression, for instance. Depending on the individual, symptoms could include changes in sleep and appetite, lack of concentration, decreased energy levels, loss of interest in activities, and physical aches or pains.

“There should be no shame in seeking out mental health care as needed,” Dr. Darleen Dempster, a clinical faculty member in the clinical mental health counseling program at Southern New Hampshire University. “Just as one would not feel shame in seeking medical care for a persistent medical issue.”

In the scenario of a broken bone, you might not think twice about treatment. That’s because physical health isn’t as taboo as mental health, and broken bones don't often have symptoms like lowered self-worth.

But like a broken bone, the type of mental health help you receive will depend on your symptoms, situation, and personality. The more mental health treatment is encouraged, the more normal and less stigmatized it becomes, and the more likely you are to get help.

Mental health awareness fosters continued education

Buckle up — the discussion on mental health isn’t a short-term thing. Continuing the conversation means continuing our education on mental illnesses that not only impact us personally but also affect the people we care about and care for.

Because so many are affected, increasing awareness and education skyrockets the chances for help early on. Plus, the more education you have on mental health, the more you can work to improve the lives of others. And that’s what it’s all about.

Make an appointment

Whether you make an appointment with your general physician or book a session with a counselor or therapist, find health professionals that can answer all your questions and bring you comfort. Remember, there's no such thing as a dumb question, so really let it out with healthcare professionals you trust.

Do your own research

We live in a world where information is available with just a few clicks. As you use the great, almighty World Wide Web to your advantage, be cautious about the sites and resources you rely on. When it comes to mental health, these are some reputable sources you can count on.

🧠 Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

🧠 Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

🧠 International OCD Foundation

🧠 Psychology Today

🧠 Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA)

🧠 The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP)

🧠 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Mental health matters to Fusion Medical Staffing, and here’s how

230608_1193-min (1)Your mental health matters and it matters to us, too. That’s why Fusion Medical Staffing offers access to free 24/7 mental health services, as well as health insurance plan options with mental health coverage and a $0 copay to cover the cost of consistent care through the mental health professional of your choice. We know that mental health is a part of daily, overall wellness, and we encourage you to do what works for you to keep your mental health in tip-top shape.

“Recognizing that you might need to talk to someone and get help is brave and healthy,” said Jessica Koch, SHRM-SCP, Fusion’s Director of Human Resources. “You can’t continue to care for others if you don’t take care of yourself.”

In addition to professional mental health resources, our clinical team and rockstar recruiters are also there for you when you need them. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone who gets it, and you’ll find that with your Fusion Medical Staffing travel team.

“Often, travelers just want someone to talk to,” said Casey Morrison, BSN, RN, Fusion’s Manager of Clinical Services and Operations. “It helps to have someone who is also clinical, because we understand what the traveler is saying and can empathize with their situation, as well as provide necessary feedback and recommendations.”

Because the people who make up Fusion Medical Staffing take the time to understand the importance of positive mental health, we’re able to foster a safe and open environment where we can share struggles and ask for extra love and support without fear or shame. And we share that attitude with our community to live our overall mission: to improve the lives of everyone we touch.

If you need someone to lean on or a casual pep talk to get you through the day, we’ve got your back. Your Fusion Medical Staffing team is here for you, day or night however you need us.

Frequently asked questions

What is mental health?

Chances are if you asked 100 people, you’d get 100 different answers. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, mental health encompasses your emotional, social, and psychological well-being. Throughout the course of your lifetime, your mental health impacts how you think, feel, and act, plus helps determine how you deal with stress, how you relate to others, and how you make your choices.

“When in a state of good mental health, a person has a generally positive outlook, can accomplish daily tasks, maintain relationships and engage in meaningful recreation,” said Dempster. “This includes a sense of balance and empowerment to set boundaries and address life and work goals, step by step.”

Here’s the good news: people want to know more about mental health and bond over shared experiences, whether it's major depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or any other mental health conditions. You may be part of a community of health professionals, but you’re human first.

How can registered nurses and allied health professionals prioritize their mental health and wellness?

GettyImages-1456029277-min (1)From registered nurses to occupational therapists to nurse practitioners to physical therapists to physicians’ assistants, all health professionals require mental health support and deserve self-care and love.

You’ll know you need to prioritize your mental health when you start to recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. When you’re able to pinpoint that sensation, take it as a sign to unwind and charge — whether that’s by taking a walk, doing some stretches, hitting the gym, or just chilling with Netflix. Most importantly, reach out for help when you need it — your recruiter, family, friends, colleagues are all here for you.

When is Mental Health Awareness Month and how can I celebrate?

In the U.S., May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, which makes May the perfect time to raise awareness about mental health, break down stigmas, and promote support for those affected.

When it comes to celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month, you have options! From attending educational events to practicing self-care to advocating for better mental health services to simply reaching out to friends and loved ones, each action, no matter how seemingly small, can make a huge impact in someone else’s life.  

Are there any specific resources or support networks available for healthcare professionals?

Aside from organizations such as the American Nurses Association, American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association, we offer additional benefits to our healthcare travelers.

One of the top benefits of traveling with Fusion Medical Staffing is access to our experienced clinical team. Having a solid support system both on and off assignments can make or break your professional experiences, and offer encouragement and comfort, as well as mental health support is what our clinical team is here for.

“We serve as a sounding board and advocate for our travelers and since we do have clinical knowledge, we can better understand the situations our travelers face and help guide them,” said Morrison.

Another perk we offer our travelers is access to Operation Happy Nurse resources. Through our partnership with Operation Happy Nurse, you have access to free perks and programs focused on improving your mental and physical health.

Learn more about mental health resources offered by Fusion Medical Staffing.



It can be tough to be a healthcare professional — that’s why there aren’t more yous in the world! While you may have gotten into the medical field to help others, you can channel some of that energy into your own health to ensure you’re your best you. When we put in the work to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health, normalize mental health care, increase mental health awareness, encourage treatment, and foster continued education, we become part of the positive change that makes the world go round.