Awareness, resources key to frontline mental health support

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Awareness and resource issues are key barriers to providing mental health support to frontline healthcare professionals, according to a new study.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a renewed focus on the mental health of the nurses and doctors dealing with the virus every day.

Usually, healthcare workers have access to different types of support in the form of both work‐based interventions, such as improving equipment, and psychological support, such as counselling.

But with such high numbers of new COVID-19 cases across the country, the NHS and its workers are feeling the strain.

The review, carried out by research organisation Cochrane, looked at the types and relative success of mental health support for frontline workers during and after disease outbreaks.

Sixteen studies from epidemics and pandemics were included in the analysis: two from the SARS outbreak, nine from Ebola, one from MERS and four from COVID-19.

The analysis found that a lack of awareness among both workers and organisations of what mental health support was needed was a key barrier to providing support. A lack of resources, specifically equipment, staff time and relevant skills, was also a key barrier.

Three factors that helped with providing support were also identified: the ability for adaptation to local needs; effective communication; and positive, safe and supportive learning environments for workers.

Read the full review here.

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