Study Exposes Inconsistent Mental Health Support for Health Workers

A recent study exploring psychological support services for health and care staff during the first peak of the pandemic has revealed growing concerns over nurse and health worker mental health and wellbeing.

The study carried out by University College London found “striking inconsistencies” in support offered to members of staff and called for a “flexible system” that was equally “consistent” and “easily accessible” for personnel.

Although report findings found staff appreciated the support available, there were found to be “large disparities” on what was offered as well as substantial barriers to accessing help.

For example, some nurses who took part in the study recalled calling occupational health services but the line was engaged and therefore they were not being able to access support.  Others advised that some support services were not compatible with shift patterns or simply that they were too busy to take time out from their shift to attend appointments, describing them as “quite remote, irregular and not easily accessible”.

The “predominant narrative” of those questioned was that their coping mechanism was simply “just getting on with it”.  Authors of the study said, “This mentality was attributed to being a positive persona, being part of the job, or simply not having a choice.”

Dr Jo Billings, associate professor at University College London division of psychiatry and lead author of the study, said, “In the UK, it has been estimated that 45-58% of the frontline health and social care workforce met criteria for clinically significant levels of anxiety and depression [and or post-traumatic stress disorder] shortly following the first wave of the pandemic.

Significant steps need to be urgently taken to improve the psychological wellbeing and morale of the UK health and social care workforce and to ensure that the services they deliver to the UK population are sustainable during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.”


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Carrie Plummer - Editor & Content Manager

Mental Health and Wellbeing Knowledge Hub News

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