Frontline Healthcare Workers Facing Adverse Mental Health Decline

Crisis exasperated

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Growing pressure from the pandemic, is having a devastating impact on the mental health of those who are holding the frontline in the war against Covid.

With elevated levels of symptoms across the board, including anxiety, PTSD, and exhaustion, burn out rates in hospitals are higher than ever before. 

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On Saturday, the Victorian government announced the fast-tracking of a $32 million package supporting dedicated healthcare workers, through a range of mental health initiatives and practical supports.

Delivering a range of psychological and psychosocial initiatives, the program includes psychologists and counsellors on site to provide proactive support to workers, along with workplace rest and recovery spaces, and healthy meal delivery during and after work hours for workers and their families.

Victoria's minister for health, Martin Foley acknowledged the foreseeable pressures facing frontline workers.

“The coming months will be incredibly hard on our healthcare workers in hospitals and ambulance services – this is about supporting them so that they can continue to deliver the very best care for all Victorians.”

- MP Martin Foley

A national survey conducted during the 2nd wave revealed more than 60 per cent of health care workers felt anxious, with 40 per cent experiencing moderate to severe symptoms, while 70 per cent were burnt out and had a high degree of depression.

Respiratory Physician at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Dr Natasha Smallwood told Kathryn Robinson on ABC's The Drum that longer term funding is needed in order to address longstanding systemic issues.

"With the advent of the pandemic there certainly has been funding at federal and state government level to try and support the mental health of frontline health care workers, but I suppose it’s kind of important to recognise that kind of funding is 'Band-Aid funding'...onto what was already a significant problem"

- Dr Natasha Smallwood

Without debate, the best way to support our frontline health care workers, is to not overrun the health system. 

However, the question remains, what provisions will other states and territories deliver their health care workers as borders reopen domestically and nationally? 


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Triple M Newsroom

23 October 2021

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Triple M Newsroom

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