The NHS is setting up dozens of mental health hubs to help staff who have been left traumatised by treating Covid patients during the pandemic.
There is mounting concern that large numbers of frontline workers have experienced mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder over the last year.
NHS personnel will be able to ring one of the 40 new hubs in England, receive advice and be referred for support from psychologists, mental health nurses, therapists and recovery workers.
Frontline workers who are struggling with their mental health will be encouraged to use the service, and hub staff will call workers deemed at highest risk directly to offer their help. Higher-risk groups are likely to include those who work in intensive care, on Covid wards and in A&E units.
Almost half of doctors, nurses and other ICU staff have reported symptoms of PTSD, severe depression or anxiety, according to research published last month. Of these, about 40% had probable PTSD – far higher than the rates seen among military veterans.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS England’s chief executive, announced the hubs in an interview with the House magazine. They are being set up at locations across England including Bedfordshire, Lancashire and north-east London. A handful are already in operation.
Source: The Guardian, 22 February 2021