“The ‘psychological first aid’ helping healthcare workers through crisis.”

Anxiety during a pandemic is a problem for everyone, but it’s a bigger issue for healthcare workers because they’re at an increased risk of getting the virus.

So says Professor Brendan Kelly, a consultant psychiatrist and professor at Trinity College Dublin, and the author of a book called ‘Coping with Coronavirus: How To Stay Calm And Protect Your Mental Health – A Psychological Toolkit’.

At the moment, around a quarter of all confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland are healthcare workers.

So far, we know that around 25% of those people who tested positive picked it up at work.

Prof Kelly says that among the new anxieties healthcare workers face are contracting the virus themselves, and bringing it home to their families.

“Anxiety primarily comes from a conflict in your head. The conflict here is the risk at work and then the risk at home,” he says.

This, he adds, has led to some healthcare workers around the world moving away from their families to lessen the risk.

There may also be anxiety around new rostering arrangements or training up for a new role.

Indeed, the CEO of the Health Service Executive, Paul Reid, said at the weekend that training staff to support all of the new critical care beds and ventilators that have been added to the system will be one of the greatest challenges in this crisis.

The HSE says healthcare workers can be “routinely exposed to events that workers in the general population would not encounter”, including “patient loss of life, trauma and increased exposure to Covid-19”.

It says this can potentially expose staff to “complex psychosocial risks”, but that it has an employee assistance programme available to all staff groups, including counselling and critical incident stress management.

Read the full article on RTE News here