Health workers 'experiencing suicidal thoughts' as a result of the Covid crisis

A union has called for hotlines and support to be set up to help healthcare workers struggling with the effects of the coronavirus.

New research shows that nearly half of the 14,000 health workers surveyed said they found it difficult to deal with thoughts of suicide.

The number included A&E workers, paramedics, nurses, porters and health workers.

Unison wants a 24-hour hotline to help those on the front lines in the fight against Covid-19.

The union said they were desperately needed to support those suffering from burnout as hospital admissions continue to rise.

Some of the respondents said they had experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and panic attacks.

Others said they felt helpless supporting the patients in their care, while some quit their jobs altogether.

In addition to the workload, there are also issues like abandoning rental homes due to their landlords’ concerns about the Covid area.

Only half of those surveyed said they had actively sought help with their mental health, with many sharing the burden with colleagues, friends and family.

Unison’s health chief Sara Gorton said: “The pressure on staff to keep us safe during Covid has been relentless.

“Many are exhausted with no lessening in sight with the increase in hospital admissions and the backlog of canceled treatments. Others are traumatized by seeing patients die before their due time – no one can understand the toll this has caused.”

“Wages have to go up soon or staff could leave. The government must step in to help the NHS hold on to the people. That means supporting their mental health and financial well-being.

“To avoid an exodus, ministers should expand psychological support and guarantee an appropriate wage increase.”

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