We have now joined hands with the newly formed Healthworkers' Support Foundation (HSF).
We are trialling a 6-month programme to show the impact of having a psychologist as part of the team in tackling trauma and depression.
The Healthworkers’ Support Foundation is a registered charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England & Wales with the Charity Commission (Charity number 1189049) and with Companies House (company number 12550633).
There is little in place to support all the people doing this vital work, and many attempted projects fail due to lack of understanding of the medical sector, so we're trying to take things to the next level.
Download & stream our song to support the cause:
Who am I?
I am Dr Rony Berrebi, an intensive care medic (ICU). I have treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients, and witnessed so many dying as well as so many of my colleagues breaking down in tears at the end of their shift.
Why this appeal?
I've seen so many of my colleagues burning out over the past few weeks, even before it started due to all the intense preparations to ensure we were ready and no one was dying needlessly.
My colleagues often break down in tears at the end of their shifts and are at major risk of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
This is the type of traumatic experience soldiers usually get when coming back from war and it is debilitating for people, who often:
- Lose their jobs
- Put their family at risk due to their inability to work and to depression (children in particular are at risk)
It can become a chronic condition that is incredibly hard to treat. It does feel like we're at war, and we don't know when it will end.
But it can be prevented in the early stages and that's where the magic happens. Once it's too advanced it's extremely hard to recover from it.
That's why catching those symptoms early, and preventing PTSD from "settling in", is life-changing.
Where is this going? What happens after COVID?
When training as an intensive care doctor, I went through a traumatic experience and went on to write a song about it. I used this to fundraise for King's College Hospital in London in 2015 but felt like so much more should be done.
I've always been worried about mental health, and always wanted to work/fundraise/play music for a charity that supports NHS workers' mental health. But that doesn't exist.
Mind, a UK charity, had a programme for four years but after the government funding for it ended decided not to carry on with it.
In short, my plan is now to create the FIRST mental health charity dedicated to NHS/healthcare workers everywhere in the UK.
It's something worth fighting for; it has the potential to change people's lives in a permanent way.
What if we dreamed big?
Our "dream big" target - £1 million - is really where we get to make a real, long term impact in supporting our NHS workers.
PTSD treatment consists of 8-12 sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which cost about £60 each, so that equates to around £600 to get one person out of PTSD for good.
There are 300,000 nurses in the NHS. Most of whom have now been re-dispatched to help treat patients with COVID-19.
If only 5% of them ended up needing mental health support with PTSD or similar, that's 15,000 nurses - which would cost £9-10 million in treatment.
So, to be realistic we'll start with only the most severe cases (10% of those nurses needing treatment) and with £1 million we can treat 1,500 of them.
Not everyone displaying early symptoms will necessarily need intensive treatment, sometimes meditation and support can be enough. But for those who do get an advanced form of PTSD, it will upend their lives in the most radical way.
Our plan goes well beyond this
We want to support all NHS workers. This includes medical directors, doctors, healthcare assistants, pharmacists, paramedics, porters and many more.
We want to build a holistic approach and offer:
- Meditation courses & groups to strengthen the mental health of our everyday heroes
- Childcare support for those suffering from PTSD and depression
- Support with issues causing financial stress
Since launching we have gained some incredible feedback from NHS staff:
So what can you do?
If enough people support this project, we will be able to build a national mental health charity for our NHS heroes! The full £50,000 goes to funding the resources and treatments necessary for supporting their mental health.
You can now also join the campaign and FUNDRAISE for us: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/scrubblues/multiply
If you can't donate why not:
- Share this page with someone who might want to support us: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/nhsheroes
- Share the song far and wide (if you like it!)
FOLLOW THE CAMPAIGN
Who else is in the team?
My brother, who's been supporting my music with videos, photography & website. He's a freelance digital & creative strategist with a wealth of experience working in charities.
A talented project manager, who's recently completed an MBA, and whom Dario met whilst working with a charity that supports isolated older people in the UK.
HR officer at Doctors Without Borders - also my amazing, loving partner ;)
Get in touch with me