'All we do is work' - NHS staff turn to therapy over Covid trauma
- Credit: PA
Needle phobias, "moral injuries" and the thought of spreading Covid to loved ones are all fears blighting frontline workers as dozens make use of a new mental health helpline.
The new service, officially launched by the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) on January 25, has received nearly 50 calls in a month from traumatised health and care staff needing to talk.
According to Diane Palmer, the lead nurse responsible for managing the helpline, 17 of those are now in active therapy.
She said when a healthcare worker calls the helpline they have an hour long conversation with Suffolk Mind, and can be referred to NSFT if it is thought they could benefit from counselling or therapy. There's also face-to-face support available.
Detailing the trauma some staff are facing, Ms Palmer said: "Most people are anxious about passing Covid onto their loved ones or patients.
You may also want to watch:
"They're feeling lonely and isolated, and that all they do is work.
"People also come to us about moral injuries they may have experienced - which is where someone has had to deviate from their moral code because of the situation they're in."
- 1 New Turkish takeaway which cooks over coals shows how kebabs should be done
- 2 Drivers delivering for Amazon have hundreds of pounds of pay withheld
- 3 Tributes paid to popular Avenue Middle School head who taught thousands of Norwich children
- 4 Tenants battled 'extreme mould' for months
- 5 City star Buendia reveals Messi's Argentina intervention
- 6 Farke makes a pact with City squad
- 7 Former Norwich North MP and champion of city Dr Ian Gibson dies
- 8 Norwich takeaway's food poisoning complaint investigation closed
- 9 Pub relying on British public's resolve ahead of reopening outside space
- 10 Woman cut from car after crash on A11
She said other sources of stress were needle phobias and anxiety around having to be vaccinated.
"Many healthcare workers are worried they'll be forced to get the vaccine when they don't want to, or are concerned about anti-vaxxer dialogue which might be present even within the hospital," she said.
"What we do is help people understand what the vaccine is and does, make sure their information is correct and work with them around needle phobias.
"We make it clear nobody will force them to have the vaccine."
One ICU nurse working in the region, who does not want to be named, said the hardest thing was dealing with the "constant presence" of death.
"A lot of the nurses are massively struggling," she said. "It's when you're looking after patients similar ages to yourself, or completely fit and healthy, and then they don't make it.
"Though we seem to be passing the peak it's still so exhausting.
"We spend 13 hours in PPE, and are expected to take on more than one patient at a time because so many people are off with breaks for mental health.
"It's hard not being able to relax or socialise at the end of the day. We just feel like all we ever do is work."