NHS Charities Together has launched a fundraising appeal to help ensure support for NHS staff as the pandemic stretches into a second year.
The charity will use the funds raised through the appeal to ramp up the mental health and wellbeing programmes and facilities available for staff across the UK.
The charity is an umbrella organisation made up of 241 NHS member charities based within hospitals, mental health trusts, ambulance trusts, community health trusts and health boards across the UK.
After a year of unrelenting demand NHS staff face the triple challenge of
- dealing with the continuing impact of Covid-19
- tackling the backlog of other patients who desperately need treatment
- and making sure their own mental health is not a casualty of the crisis.
Mental health difficulties for NHS staff
Thirteen months after the first national Covid-19 lockdown NHS Charities Together has published research that confirms that the public is still grateful for the work of NHS staff during the crisis.
The YouGov survey of NHS workers and the general public reports that:
- 86% of the general public agree NHS staff have been ‘there for us’ during the pandemic
- 66% say the hard work of NHS staff during the pandemic makes them proud to be British.
- NHS healthcare workers remain the most respected of any profession among the general public surveyed (63%).
Just over half the NHS staff surveyed reported that their mental health had declined since the start of the pandemic. Of these 67% reported anxiety and 35% depression.
They said that the greatest impact on their mental health and been due to:
- not being able to see friends and family (61%)
- not being able to make plans for the future (31%)
- concern about passing on Covid-19 to someone close to them (31%)
- worrying about their increased risks of catching and being seriously affected by Covid-19 (24%)
- and seeing the impact of Covid-19 on patients and their families (23%).
Speaking about the research and the appeal, Ellie Orton, CEO of NHS Charities Together said:
“The public showed overwhelming support for NHS staff over the last year, and we need to continue to be there for them, now and in the longer term as the NHS recovers from the most challenging time in its history.
“The NHS is doing all it can to support staff in this area, but the scale of the challenge is so huge. They need all of our support. It makes a huge difference for them knowing the public has got their back.”
Following the generous support from the public last year NHS Charities Together has so far allocated £125 million in a range of projects supporting staff, patients and volunteers.
These include counselling services for NHS staff, helplines and intensive psychological support for post-traumatic stress disorder, through its 241 NHS member charities covering the entire UK. Funding has also supported staff with practical needs like food, drink and a place to rest, enabling staff to continue with their vital life-saving work.
The focus for the Be There for Them appeal is on raising funds to put longer term mental health support in place for NHS staff as they continue to tackle the challenge of dealing with Covid-19 while addressing all the other health needs of the communities they serve.