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On the frontline of the greatest public health challenge of our time, nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers are providing critical medical aid to those who have been affected by COVID.
However, NHS staff have not always had the right equipment, training or support to provide the care they would have wanted to, tackling life and death situations for a much larger number of patients than they would normally treat. Having to guide families in complex decisions, like having to end life support, over phone or video calls rather than in person, adds immense extra pressure and takes a deep mental toll. These cumulative experiences can, in many, lead to feelings of guilt, shame and fear and can manifest as symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders or depressive illness.
A recent survey of NHS workers revealed that 11 per cent had severe anxiety, 6 per cent had severe depression and 13 per cent had thoughts of being better off dead or hurting themselves in the past two weeks. With evidence suggesting that at least one in twelve healthcare workers are likely to develop PTSD as result of their experiences it is deeply concerning that many will not receive proper support which leaves them at risk of losing their jobs, relationships and futures.
Your support today can help those who put their lives and mental wellbeing on the line to save the lives of others.
The current recommended therapies for PTSD must be delivered by experienced mental health professionals, in up to 18 sessions of 90 minutes each. With a lack of trained practitioners, a 12-month waiting list, and a dropout rate of approximately 30 per cent, we need to do more to ensure our frontline NHS workers can access the support they need.
By combining the research excellence of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative care, King’s College London will conduct a pioneering study into a new treatment, ‘Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories’ (RTM) protocol, a world first for treating PTSD. This will draw on King’s position as the UK Centre of Excellence for Military Mental Health Research, providing a unique opportunity to apply this world-leading research to a healthcare context.
The benefits of RTM over current therapies are immense. Due to its simplistic method of delivery, more mental healthcare professionals can deliver the protocol effectively in significantly fewer sessions. This means faster results and shorter waiting times, ensuring more NHS staff can get the support they urgently need.
Your gift today will help our researchers find a way to treat PTSD that is more accessible, less resource intensive, and can help avoid a mental health crisis among healthcare staff.
With your support, King’s researchers aim to investigate the efficiency of the new RTM protocol, proving it is a scalable approach to treat PTSD. This will ensure that work induced trauma does not inhibit the ability of staff to have a long and fulfilling career within the NHS.
We need your help to achieve our vision of urgently making this life altering treatment available to healthcare and NHS workers. Your donation can help us reach the initial funding target of £150,000, which will allow us to start the research and conduct crucial scoping work to begin the trial. Further funding will allow us to extend the trial across NHS Trusts.
As part of the programme, we will train occupational therapists, occupational health nurses and other mental health staff to deliver the RTM protocol in areas with the most need across the UK.
By donating today, you will help King’s researchers uncover the most effective intervention to this mental health challenge, leading the world in supporting the mental health of frontline staff. Your support will help improve the wellbeing of the healthcare workers affected by PTSD, improving their ability to live their lives while they continue to save the lives of others.