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A Voice for Mental Health

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Not only does College of Nursing Instructor Michael Martel, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC, teach his students about mental health coping methods, he is a leading voice for his colleagues in healthcare.

While working as an emergency nurse, Martel saw many of his colleagues in a state of stress after treating patients, which led him to researching various coping methods and resources.

Through his research, Martel came across the U.S. Army Battle Buddy program. Martel is currently piloting a similar Battle Buddy Program based off of these principles with the advanced practce nursing (APRN) students in the College of Nursing as a method of providing ongoing peer to peer emotional support.

On January 27, 2021, presented for a large group healthcare workers across the state of Michigan as part of the CONversations Series. The coping methods that Martel focuses on include deep breathing, visualization, and other mindfulness exercises.

“Nurses experience many stressors while caring for others,” says Martel. “Unfortunately, as nurses we often have little control over the stressors themselves but what we do have some control over is the development of coping and self-care strategies to build resilience.”

A new study shows that 45% of hospital staff caring for COVID-19 patients have experienced a prevalence of stress while over 25% have experienced anxiety; depression not far behind. These numbers significantly increase in other parts of the globe, which speaks to the ongoing mental health crisis that healthcare workers face.

As the need for mental health resources continues to rise, Martel is bringing his teachings to the forefront. In February of 2021, Martel presented for a group of nurses at McLaren Greater Lansing (pictured above), which was well received.

“The mental health and wellbeing of our nursing staff is crucial during the pandemic. The impact Michael’s presentation had on the MGL staff is still being felt a month later as nurses continue to view the recorded session and provide us with positive feedback,” says Director of Patient Care Services at McLaren Greater Lansing, Amanda Lampron, MSN, RN. “The partnership between McLaren and MSU to reinvent healthcare for the new healthcare campus continues to provide amazing opportunities and we are excited for the future of nursing.”