Frontline staff are being offered access to a new mental health service, after 80% reported feeling “burnt out” by the pandemic.
Polling by charity SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) found more than three-quarters of key workers in Aberdeen have been more stressed and anxious as a result of pressures from Covid.
Younger people, specifically in the 25-to-34 age group, have been hardest hit by this.
The organisation is launching its Time For You platform, saying it has “never been more important” that people in need get help.
What does the service provide?
The service is open to all frontline workers, including the likes of healthcare staff, bus drivers and supermarket workers, and offers three levels of mental health support.
This ranges from self-help resources, through to access to talking therapies with trainee psychologists from Glasgow Caledonian University.
It has the capacity to support up to 4,000 people from across the country, and is also being supported by online therapy firm Living Life to the Full.
Why is this needed?
Other services, such as the NHS Grampian Psychological Resilience Hub, have been running for many months amid the pandemic but not all areas of Scotland have access to this.
The poll commissioned by SAMH found 46% of people have been put off seeking help due to concerns about mental health waiting times.
Additionally, 39% did not think their problems were big enough to warrant such treatment, and 28% said they were simply too busy to take the time to look after their mental health.
Many workers have taken up extra shifts or responsibilities amid the pandemic – with other subjected to shocking torrents of abuse from the general public.
Fiona Benton, assistant director of delivery and development at SAMH, said: “Frontline workers have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and it’s extremely worrying to discover so many are struggling.
“While carrying out some of the most important jobs to keep our local communities going, many have experienced high levels of anxiety and stress, not to mention the worry for the safety of themselves, their loved ones, and the people they help within their roles.”
“We know from the research that frontline workers feel they would benefit from help such as talking therapies like cognitive behaviour therapy and access to self-help resources, so we hope that Time for You will be a valuable resource for many people.
“We urge anyone who is struggling to reach out and take the first step – it’s OK to not be OK.”
‘Confident’ in scheme’s success
The project has been funded by Foundation Scotland’s Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund, support by the National Emergencies Trust.
Its head of programmes, Helen Wray, said: “The impact on those working tirelessly to help others during this difficult time has been significant, particularly regarding their mental health.
“By supporting SAMH to deliver the Time For You programme, we’re confident frontline workers will feel more equipped, trained and able to cope with the continuing pressures they face during such uncertain times.”