More than 300 medical workers in the United Kingdom's National Health Service attempted suicide last year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing a six-month study from the emergency care worker association Laura Hyde Foundation (LHF), the British newspaper i reported that 226 nurses, 79 paramedics and ambulance workers, and 17 medical students attempted suicide in 2020.
"Make no mistake, we are now entering a new pandemic. A pandemic of mental health problems for frontline workers who stepped up at a time of national emergency. We have to help them," LHF Chairman Liam Barnes said.
A 28-year-old NHS nurse told the newspaper that she felt “abandoned” during the pandemic. The nurse said she has had only four weeks off in the past 15 months.
"During the first wave I was totally unprepared for what I was being thrown into. I’d never witnessed so much death and human suffering in such a short space of time and I struggled at night to get the images of people dying, alone, out of my head," she said.
LHF will be distributing free suicide prevention resources to thousands of NHS staff, hospitals and emergency workers in an effort to fight back, i reported.
"We believe that the resources we can now make available to anyone that needs it, highlight fit-for-purpose support lines but also provide education and destigmatization on the topic of suicide and the distinct conditions that can lead to it," Barnes said.
In the U.S., a survey released in April found that 62 percent of health care workers said stress from the coronavirus pandemic had negatively impacted their mental health. Among younger health care workers, the impact was higher, with three-fourths reporting negative effects from COVID-19-related stress.
However, the survey also found that most workers were feeling optimistic that they were seeing a light at the end of the tunnel due to vaccination efforts.