Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on our mental health. We’ve heard it so many times in the newspapers and after numerous lockdowns and tier system restrictions, I think most of us are now feeling it too. Yet, throughout this crisis and its ups and downs, one thing has remained constant: the unyielding bravery of our key workers. But, like us all, their mental health is being hit and the constant stress of working on the frontline is taking its toll. They need support. 

Charities Supporting Key Workers

Four leading charities have come together, forming ‘Our Frontline’: a service to support those millions of frontline workers whose mental health is being affected by coronavirus.

‘Our Frontline’: 5 charities supporting key workers with their mental health

‘Our Frontline’ was formed on the 8th of April when Shout, Samaritans, Mind and Hospices UK, with the support of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, came together to offer a single service to assist millions of key workers. 

Samaritans and Shout offer free, round the clock call and text services for key workers from health, the emergency services, education, social care and others to offer support with mental health issues and provide resources on how to combat them. Since their inception, Shout has held 2,914 conversations with key workers and exchanged around 102,000 texts.

Frontline workers put themselves at risk every day and as a result, are much more at risk of mental health issues surrounding coronavirus. 49% of key workers raised COVID-19 as an issue, compared to 6% of all respondents during the same period. 23% said they were depressed, 13% lonely and 11% raised issues of suicide. Lockdown also had a serious effect, with double the number of workers raising issues of anxiety compared to before lockdown. 

‘Our Frontline’: 5 charities supporting key workers with their mental health

This is what ‘Our Frontline’ was set up to tackle and their volunteers are doing an amazing job at supporting our key workers. Their efforts have been met with an overwhelmingly positive response. 

One key worker said ‘I very much appreciate the help and support you’ve given me. I struggle to ask for help but it was reassuring to hear that what I feel is ok. I felt safe. Thank you.’ 

Another wrote, ‘At the time of my text I was in turmoil with anxiety and feeling like a failure. I’m normally resilient and am always the person to help colleagues, friends and family if they are struggling. Admitting that I’m struggling is really hard but the volunteer texted back that it was ok to feel how I was and was really positive. Having someone acknowledge how hard working on the frontline has been made me feel reassured that I wasn’t failing at my job or in life generally. The volunteer also sent links with further help. Thank you so much for your help on a particular ‘wobble day”.

The Giving Bear 

To support ‘Our Frontline’, Veolia, New West End Company and Westminster City Council have brought back ‘The Giving Bear.’ This life-size, adorable polar bear, made of 3000 reusable milk bottles, will light up Berkley Square Gardens and encourages small acts of charity. All proceeds will go to ‘Our Frontline.’ 

If you would like to help ‘Our Frontline’, visit the bear, snap a photo and share it using #TheGivingBear and make a small donation. He’ll only be around until the 30th of December.

Thank you ‘Our Frontline’ for the amazing work you are doing and thank you to all our frontline workers who put their lives on the line every day to help us.

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Maximilian Skoczylas is a Politics and International Relations student at UCL, who believes that no news is bad news. Good news is good news – and it should be shared.

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