SINN Féin MP Chris Hazzard has asked the Minister for Health to urgently prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of healthcare workers in light of research that suggests COVID19 is having a detrimental impact on their mental wellbeing.
The South Down MP said:
“Our frontline healthcare workers are at risk of not just adverse physical outcomes from COVID19, but also many psychological ones too.
“Previous experience of pandemics across the world suggests that health workers might develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and various mental health issues such as depression as well as increased risk of addiction and substance abuse.
"Already this year research published in the BMJ from China and Italy during the COVID19 pandemic illustrates a sharp rise in depression, anxiety and insomnia amongst health workers - especially for those with children at home, an infected family member, or a lower household income.
“Thankfully the preliminary data also seems to suggest that psychosocial and workplace measures can improve workers’ mental health and wellbeing - with interventions such as increased childcare support or financial measures that lessen financial stresses at home positively helping those in need.
“Increasing health workers ability to enjoy rest, a balanced diet, and regular exercise have also proven beneficial according to the same research.
“I have now asked the Health Minister Robin Swann to assess this issue and to urgently prioritise measures which will proactively assist those healthcare workers that have selflessly put themselves in harms way to protect us all in these difficult times.
“Our healthcare workers deserve nothing less.”