The Laura Hyde Foundation has become the first charity to formerly give its support to the Nursing Times Covid-19: Are You OK? campaign.
The charity signed up to support the campaign just before World Mental Health Day, after being one of an initial group of organisations recently contacted by Nursing Times.
The foundation was established in late 2017 by Liam Barnes, after his cousin Laura, a Royal Navy nurse, passed away from suicide.
“The need to continue to highlight the issues that our nurses face with their mental health is of paramount importance”
Its aim is to ensure that clinical or emergency service personnel have access to any mental health support they require at all times.
Nursing Times launched the Covid-19: Are You OK? campaign in April to first raise awareness of the mental health pressures and wellbeing needs of nurses during and after the coronavirus pandemic.
We have now launched the second phase of the campaign, which partly involves calling on relevant organisations, including charities, unions and other representative bodies, to support its aims.
Secondly, we are also actively asking employers from the health and care sector to back the aims of the campaign and make a public pledge to do so.
As a result, we aim to contact the majority of NHS acute, specialist, community and mental health providers in the coming weeks to see if they will sign the campaign pledge.
In signing up to support the campaign, employers are pledging to provide easily accessible formal mental health and wellbeing support to staff for as long as it is needed.
They are also agreeing to foster a culture of mutual support, in which staff are alert to the possibility that colleagues may be experiencing problems as a result of their work during the pandemic.
In addition, they are pledging to ensure staff experiencing problems know they will receive a positive, supportive response by disclosing them and that it will not be viewed as a sign of weakness.
Thank you very much to the The Laura Hyde Foundation for leading the way by being the first charity to publicly support Covid-19: Are You OK?
Mr Barnes, founder and trustee chair of the Laura Hyde Foundation, said: “The need to continue to highlight the issues that our nurses face with their mental health is of paramount importance.
“It will allow help to be given to those who need it, it will help de-stigmatise mental health amongst our nursing community, it will continue to challenge the decision makers to prioritise this topic and most importantly of all save lives.
“We are, therefore, a strong advocate of the ‘Are you OK?’ campaign and its objectives,” said Mr Barnes.
He added: “Mental health for your patients is always considered a priority, however, so is your own. Let’s start prescribing for yourself what you would for your patients.”
A Nursing Times survey of 3,500 nurses undertaken for the campaign’s launch found that 33% of respondents rated their overall mental health and wellbeing as “bad” or “very bad” and 50% described themselves as “a lot” more anxious or stressed since the pandemic.
The mental health of clinicians during the pandemic has also been the subject of reports and surveys involving the King’s Fund, the Laura Hyde Foundation, the British Medical Association and others.