Mental health hotline for medics dealing with COVID-19

A HOTLINE has been launched offering psychological and other support for NHS staff dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

The phone line will be open from 7:00 to 23:00 every day, with volunteers from charities including Hospice UK, the Samaritans and Shout listening to concerns and signposting callers to further support.

NHS staff can phone 0300 131 7000 or text FRONTLINE to 85258.

Professor Tom Dening from the Institute of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham said: "The mental health of NHS staff is going to be absolutely crucial in the nation's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Staff are being exposed to high levels of personal risk, long hours in difficult environments clad in PPE, and also the possibility of something known as moral injury, which is the distressing awareness you may feel when you know you can't meet all the needs of the people you are trying to care for.

"This combination of factors would rattle even the most resilient of us."

Staff are encourage to talk to each other and their managers but the NHS hotline will offer support outside the workplace.

In a new survey from the BMA, 44 per cent of doctors said that they were currently suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, burnout or other mental health conditions relating to or made worse by their work. The BMA carried out the snapshot survey of more than 6,000 doctors after receiving mounting evidence of the damaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and related issues such as the lack of PPE.

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