THE number of frontline workers seeking help with potentially suicidal thoughts has increased by over 70 per cent in the last year, the Laura Hyde Foundation (LHF) announces today.
Disturbing new statistics compiled by the UK’s leading mental health charity for emergency service workers shows rising numbers of nurses, doctors, paramedics, midwives, police officers and firefighters are now seeking help.
In the first half of 2022, 946 contacted the Laura Hyde Foundation for support linked to suicidal thoughts. That’s compared to 556 people in the first half of 2021 – a leap of 70%.
The charity, set up in memory of Navy nurse Laura Hyde, says more than 220 nurses attempted to end their lives during the first year of Covid in 2020.
In a bid to raise awareness, the charity has collaborated on a new video which shines a light on the issue.
“The Feelings” aims to raise awareness of the serious difficulties that medical and emergency workers face, and how this can affect them day-to-day if they don’t seek support.
Each of the characters represents some of the actual feelings that workers from the healthcare frontline have been experiencing, including ‘rising dread’, ‘red rage’, and ‘powerless’.
The Laura Hyde Foundation says it is particularly concerned these issues could become even more pressing due to the impact the cost of living crisis could have on many in the sector, who are already struggling to cope in the aftermath of the pandemic.
They’ve been heightened further by the fact many services are currently overstretched and will face fresh difficulties in the looming Winter period.
Now, ahead of World Mental Health Day on Monday October 10, the charity is issuing an appeal to the Prime Minister, Liz Truss and Health Secretary Therese Coffey to act in this area.
Liam Barnes, the chairman of the Laura Hyde Foundation, said: “These deeply alarming figures expose what we have been growing increasingly concerned about at the Laura Hyde Foundation over recent months.
“And that’s the fact that our healthcare and emergency services are still facing a pandemic. This time however it isn’t Covid-19, it is the state of mental health and wellbeing of the workforce.
“We are yet to see the true effects of burnout, PTSD and many more conditions as a result of this testing time. Plus we now have a cost of living crisis which will only add to the burden many of our frontline workers will face.
“That’s why it is critically important that the new Prime Minister and her new Health Secretary put providing mental health support to emergency workers at the very top of their agenda.
“Sadly, the topic of mental health specifically for healthcare workers remains riddled with stigma. This simply has to end.”
Mr Barnes said there has been a sharp rise in the number of people contacting the LHF seeking support this year. The charity says the number of people contacting them in the first half of 2022 was up 39 per cent on the level seen in the first half of 2021.
Nurses, midwives, medical students and hospital doctors contacted the charities in the greatest numbers.
Of those who reached out more 54% said they needed support for suicidal thinking or activity.
Seventy-seven per cent of the contacts the Laura Hyde Foundation received were from frontline staff aged 40 or under.
By anonymously characterising these feelings, LHF hopes it will help frontline workers – and beyond – recognise the warning signs of mental health issues and seek support.
The animation, which focuses on supporting emergency workers, has already won industry praise for its impact. The LHF is sharing and promoting “The Feelings” to help support those in need around Suicide Prevention Day.
Guy Swimer, Executive Creative Director of McCann Health, says, “We were looking for a new way to support frontline workers who’ve experienced unprecedented pressure in the last couple of years. Hopefully people will continue sharing “The Feelings” with those who might need to see it, so we can try to help the people who’ve been helping all of us.”
Charlie Sells, Founder and Creative Director of Jelly, added, “While the issues raised will be familiar to many of us, emergency workers in particular have been profoundly impacted in recent years. We are hugely proud of this campaign, which encourages our care givers to articulate and speak about their feelings in the hope that precious lives are not lost.”
Source: McCann Health London