The coronavirus pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on the health and social care system. Staff are dealing with the extra physical demands of keeping people safe as well as the emotional fallout of losing colleagues and people they work with to the virus.
According to a poll of 3,500 nurses conducted by the Nursing Times, a third of nurses treating Covid-19 patients say their mental health has become “very bad” and this has been echoed in a YouGov poll for the Institute for Public Policy Research Institute, which found that more than half of health workers across the sector said the pandemic is having a “severe impact” on their mental health.
In order to try and support staff who are dealing with the outbreak, a COVID Trauma Response Working Group has been set up to help co-ordinate trauma-informed responses to the COVID outbreak.
The group have created guidance for staff in charge of putting in place psychological support for workers that are dealing with the outbreak, which highlights three key areas:
- Fostering team spirit and cohesion; such as by providing opportunities for staff to talk about their experiences and allow time for staff to support each other
- Promoting wellbeing through flexible, responsive resourcing; such as by proactively supporting vulnerable staff, monitor support needs as the crisis recedes, buddy less experienced colleagues with more experienced ones
- Providing good, clear, timely communication, information and training; such as by providing open, honest and frank briefing and providing relevant training on dealing with trauma and mental health awareness
Nursing Times: Exclusive: Nursing Times survey reveals the negative impact of Covid-19 on nurse mental health
Website: Trauma Response Working Group
Trauma Response Working Group: Rapid guidance