Nurses need help over mental health epidemic – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Peter Arndt, The Nightingale Initiative for Global Healthcare Transformation (NIGHT), Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital, Aylesbury.

PEOPLE across Yorkshire stood outside at 8pm on Thursday nights to ‘clap for carers’. This demonstrated the strength of goodwill for our health and social care staff and the crucial roles they played, and continue to play, during the pandemic.

But that has taken its toll – 24 per cent of 4,063 nurses and midwives across the UK said they were suffering severe or extremely severe depression.

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This was a stressful job long before Covid reared its ugly head. In just six years between 2011 and 2017, at least 307 NHS nurses took their own lives.

A Clap for Carers celebration earlier this year outside Harrogate's Nightingale Hospital.

Although the 320,000 NHS nursing staff can be referred to local mental health services, research has shown that they feel they may be stigmatised if they disclose a mental illness to their employer. Post-Covid, it is expected we will see an increase in anxiety, stress, depression, or other psychiatric illnesses. NIGHT, a new charity, www.nightfornurses.co.uk, is currently fundraising to ensure that every nurse, midwife, or healthcare assistant who requests confidential help can access it. Clapping for them was moving and emotional, supporting their mental health is even more important.

Clap for Carers was a Thursday night phenomenon during the first 10 weeks of the Covid lockdown.
This was Boris Johnson and his fiancee Carrie Symonds clapping for carers in 10 Downing Street.