June marks celebrations for many across the UK, as it paves the way to the end of lockdown. But for some, the impact of lockdown will continue to weigh heavy, as mental health issues have become a part of everyday life. This has been prevalent amongst healthcare workers, as almost half of the intensive care staff in England have reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the past year. The Healthcare Workers’ Foundation (HWF) is urging the public to donate to the cause this Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month.
The HWF appeal was created after direct feedback from healthcare workers, who expressed fear about the impact their work may have on their lives and those of their loved ones. Through this initiative, the HWF will continue to support the wellbeing of those who have been instrumental in keeping the nation going over the past year. Donations received will assist the charity in supporting healthcare workers across the nation with free professional therapy sessions.
Dr Chris George, a spokesperson for the Healthcare Workers’ Foundation and GP, has felt how hard-hitting Covid-19 has been on his colleagues and working environment. He said: “The pandemic was a tough time for all of us and for those working on the frontline, it was tenfold. The NHS was stretched even further than it already had been, and I saw nurses having to take care of up to three patients at once in intensive care.
“The mounting pressure only meant that there was sure to be aftershocks, which we are now experiencing today. Spotting signs such as intrusive thoughts or images, flashbacks, and nightmares, will aid in getting yourself support quicker. We are here to help, and the therapy sessions are open to all healthcare workers who feel they need it, no matter how big or small the impact they are experiencing.”
Severe depression, burnout and anxiety have become all too familiar amongst healthcare workers who were on the frontline responding to Covid-19. A recent survey about mental health by the HWF also found that unsurprisingly, 32% of survey respondents who are employed by the NHS, reported that their mental health has been drastically impacted by the pandemic. NHS workers who reported they were ‘well’ (32%) or ‘fairly well’ (53%) pre-pandemic, are now reporting that their mental health is ‘significantly worse’.
The effects of this will be no quick fix, so a guaranteed outlet for healthcare workers this month and beyond will be crucial in helping their road to recovery. And for every ten people who donate £25, several hours of professional care at Harley Therapy will be provided to healthcare workers.
The HWF has started working with healthcare workers, such as an ICU Nurse in London, who has seen tremendous improvements since starting therapy sessions and said: “Working on the frontline took a huge mental toll on me, one that I never expected. I developed PTSD during my redeployment and it was a lot to deal with, especially when it felt as though I was going through it alone.
“The Healthcare Workers’ Foundation set up therapy sessions for me through Harley Therapy and it allowed me to have a safe space to discuss the ongoing trauma I experienced in my role, which in turn allowed my wellbeing to be nurtured. I know I wouldn’t be here without it, so I’m eternally grateful.”
If you’re a healthcare worker, you can sign-up to Healthchain – the HWF’s bespoke digital platform, and one-stop-shop to give NHS and frontline staff access to essential goods and services – here via the website by using an NHS email address.
To donate to the HWF’s Post-Traumatic Stress Awareness Month appeal, please visit here.