COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The impact and experience of the COVID-19 outbreak has been different for everyone, as has how we have reacted, but there’s no doubt it’s been an immensely difficult time for us all and particularly for those working in health and social care.

That’s why it’s so important to do what we can to look after our mental health and wellbeing – now more than ever – and to reach out if you need support.

General guidance to help with COVID-19 related issues

Many of those working in the health and care sector have reported that their mental health has deteriorated due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

Exhausted or burnt out from working longer hours, picking up extra shifts and doing unfamiliar tasks. You might be dealing with new rules and tasks to keep people safe on top of your usual job. You might also have been looking after your children, elderly family members or other dependents on top of work.

Stressed by making tough decisions every day about what or who to prioritise in your work. For ideas on helping yourself, see our pages on dealing with pressure and developing resilience.

Lonely, isolated or unsettled, especially if your normal workplace or team has changed. You might have moved into a different team, a smaller team, or no longer work with the same colleagues or communities. You might also have been avoiding contact with your friends and family to keep them safe. Even in your time off, you might not feel like socialising because of how tired you are. For self-care ideas, see our tips to manage loneliness.

Anxious, worried or panicky about the possibility of unknowingly passing the virus on to people you live with or care for, or spreading it among the public. Or about contracting the virus yourself and becoming ill or unable to do your job. You may also feel uncomfortable or anxious about wearing a mask for long hours.

Guilty or inadequate for not being able to help everyone, as the volume of call-outs has been so high. This could leave you with feelings of failure, even though you’re working harder than ever.

Low, sad or numb from dealing with death much more often than before the pandemic.

Trauma and PTSD

Going through very stressful, frightening or distressing events is sometimes called trauma. This is a common experience among emergency responders – especially since the pandemic began.

Some difficult feelings and behaviours you are having may in fact be very normal reactions to trauma. Understanding this might help you process your emotions.

Trauma doesn’t automatically lead to mental health problems, but it can make you vulnerable to developing conditions like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Find out more in our pages on PTSD.

Further links and resources for COVID-19 related issues

NHS COVID-19 Staff Counselling Service – ACC’s Service in Response to COVID-19 CRISIS

What is on Offer?

Up to eight sessions of counselling on a no-fee basis from qualified counsellors by video link or by telephone for all NHS clinical and non-clinical staff working with COVID-19 patients in a hospital setting and ancillary staff working in COVID-19 areas in hospital settings including cleaners, porters and mortuary workers

To refer yourself to the service please download and complete this referral form or if you don’t have access to a computer, please ring 0247 6449694 at any time and leave a message and your contact number

NHS Guide to Coping with COVID-19

https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/coronavirus/

NHS advice about COVID-19

Latest information about symptoms, testing, vaccination and self-isolation

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Mind – Blue Light Programme

New support and information for staff, volunteers and employers in the emergency services to help you and your colleagues to cope during the pandemic and beyond.

https://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/campaigns/blue-light-programme/