The wellbeing of health and social care workers is more fundamental than ever

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It has become increasingly clear that the well-being of health and social care workers could be negatively impacted by the devastating pandemic of COVID-19, due to the work they do in direct proximity to it and the related morbidity and mortality they have faced full on. Its initiatives like Hampers for Heroes that wants to address these ever-critical issues and ensure that the mental health of our key workers is addressed, supported and funded.

Hampers for Heroes is a charitable initiative that was founded during the height of the pandemic and blossomed from a small seed of an idea by two businesswomen and mothers, who wanted to do more for our health and social care workers. The initiative has already identified that mental health problems are prevalent amongst certain groups of healthcare workers dealing with COVID-19, and this only reflects on the hardship that some frontline workers have already had to endure, such as living away from families, self-isolating as a result of positive tests or potential symptoms and simply putting themselves at risk to help others.

We have all seen the news stories in the press over the last couple of months which include the inability to source household basics due to shift patterns, and empty supermarket shelves, plus harrowing tales of the reality of working on a COVID ward in full PPE, and watching numerous patients, and sometimes colleagues and friends die in these awful circumstances

Hampers for Heroes co-founder and Business Psychologist, Victoria Hanson commented: “The new abnormal pressures and strains on health care workers during their workdays will naturally increase the likelihood of negative mental health and well-being. We must not sit back and watch our heroes’ crumbles. It is time to act fast and support our frontline workers like they supported us all the way through the devastating pandemic. We are not sure whether this is over just yet, but we know that we must better prepare and support them as best as we can. Their mental health and wellbeing should be at the centre of the talking board, and we at Hampers for Heroes want to ensure that they are not forgotten”.  

A systematic review and meta-analysis by Pappa, Sofia et al. (Dept of Psychiatry, Imperial College London), analysed the increased prevalence of Depression, Anxiety, and Insomnia among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It states that the ‘COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to significantly affect the mental health of healthcare workers (HCWs), who stand in the frontline of this crisis.’

 A review written last month by Spoorthy et al. (Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College) states that an under recognised challenge of COVID-19 is the mental health issues of medical staff during the pandemic. Professor Neil Greenberg is an academic Psychiatrist, a specialist in the understanding and management of psychological trauma, occupational mental ill-health and post-traumatic stress disorder. In a recent article for the NHS, detailing his suggestions for a staff ‘recovery plan’, Greenberg states that ‘how staff are supported as the crisis begins to recede is of critical importance in determining whether staff members will experience psychological growth, develop a mental health disorder or neither’.

 Hampers for Heroes intends to provide assistance through the provision of care packages, and to date have already delivered over 450 to health and social workers.

The contents of the packages are tailored to the needs of the individuals, and are all delivered in a thoughtful and personal way, and snacks, hand creams, soaps, drinks, plus the initiative hope to also introduce mental health tools to ensure that each recipient feels supported by the wider public.