Research from The Care Workers’ Charity report called “The Beating Heart of Care: Supporting Care Workers Better” shows that the mental health of care and support workers was suffering before the coronavirus existed.1 The findings reported care workers are finding themselves in-work poverty, and worse, suffering from mental health issues due to their low paid and emotionally charged frontline roles as carers.
Since then, social care workers have experienced challenges that most of us cannot even imagine during the covid-19 pandemic. The toll on mental health has been and continues to be massive.
In a survey conducted during the early months of the pandemic by the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) 2, recognised that ‘there are far more beds in care homes with nursing than there are in hospitals in England’, care homes have three times as many beds than hospitals. Delivering a high level of care to individuals who need a ‘combination of support for complex physical and cognitive needs’ requires a high level of skill.
In such settings, end of life care is often unavoidable and can be extremely draining on the mental and physical wellbeing of the workforce. Of the people surveyed, 80% of respondents ‘reported very negative experiences’ of working during March – May 2020.
‘56% of respondents felt worse or much worse in terms of their physical and mental wellbeing’. Other contributing factors to their negative feelings were not being valued, poor terms and conditions of employment, feeling blamed for deaths of service users and a lack of clear guidance.
In light of this, The Care Workers’ Charity is preparing to introduce Mental Health Grants for people working in the social care sector. The charity is also looking at offering sessions of therapy or counselling from licensed professionals tailored to the needs of the individual, and is currently running trials to identify partners to deliver this.
Karolina Gerlich, Executive Director at The Care Workers’ Charity says: “The coronavirus pandemic has shown the resilience and determination of care and support workers as they have continued to care for the most vulnerable members of our society. The toll on the mental health of care and support workers has been great, long before the pandemic. However, Covid-19 has exasperated the mental wellbeing of individuals who may have struggled with their mental health previously and people who have never previously struggled with anxiety or depression are now finding their mental health is suffering.
We are now appealing for support and donations to this fund to help us ensure care workers receive the right type of guidance and support to help them through what has been a very dark period for most.”
Please donate by following the fundraising link here: https://thecareworkerscharity.enthuse.com/cf/mental-health-appeal
The Care Workers’ Charity supports current, former, and retired care and support workers with financial support. Continuing to make a difference the new fund will help offer better quality support to a wider group of people.