Health Help the helpers: how to protect mental health on the COVID-19 frontline

Help the helpers: how to protect mental health on the COVID-19 frontline

Frontline health workers are being advised to seek help early as stress from battling COVID-10 piles up.

Mental health experts have drawn on the experiences of the past summer’s terrible bushfire season to warn about what could be ahead for doctors and nurses.

Repeated exposure to traumatic experiences can damage wellbeing, with research from The University of Western Australia indicating those who help others are not always the best at seeking help for themselves.

“One thing we do know about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is that early treatment is associated with much greater chance of full recovery with much less intensive treatment,” said Associate Professor David Lawrence.

With social networks unable to provide the usual support, Dr Lawrence said health workers should be given adequate time to process, rest and recover after each shift caring for COVID-19 patients.

The UWA research team surveyed more than 21,000 emergency service workers after the past bushfire season and found nearly half of all employees had been diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime.

From bushfires to pandemics, it’s been quite the year – but through it all, our universities have been looking out for those who look after us. Sign the petition to support university research now.