The ongoing coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has affected many people in the United Kingdom (UK), including mental health nurses, psychologists, and therapists. The first months of the pandemic triggered unprecedented changes in care delivery in the country. The level of panic also increased since the global community was dealing with numerous changes, including requirements for social distancing, quarantines, and contact distancing. A detailed analysis of these issues and an understanding of how they affected mental health nurses could be essential to dictate and reshape future policies in the field. The guiding hypothesis for this paper is that the ongoing COVID-19 has affected mental health nurses in the UK negatively.
How COVID-19 Affected Mental Health Nurses in the United Kingdom
Most of the studies completed in the recent past, have shed more light on most of the challenges many medical professionals experienced from the beginning of COVID-19. To begin with, Foye et al. (2021) observed that around 61 percent of mental health nurses reported a number of psychological problems, including stress, emotional turmoil, and depression. In the same study, Foye et al. (2021) identified specific attributes that led to these mental problems, including the need to deal with more people with troubled experiences, fear of getting infected, and responses to patients with a totally new medical condition. In another study, the British Medical Association (2020) observed that majority of the mental health nurses were compelled to work overtime and for prolonged hours. Such a practice was intended to provide relevant support to the increasing number of patients in need of high-quality mental services.
The onset of this disease created an unprecedented scenario whereby mental health workers were compelled to rely on unfamiliar technologies. They were supposed to acquaint themselves with emerging innovations within the shortest time possible (Foye et al., 2021). This new reality led to additional worries since most of the professionals were concerned that their services and support mechanisms to different patients could have been inadequate. Foye et al. (2021) went further to reveal that some of the workers were recalled from their leaves or holidays to provide additional medical services. This new reality created a new reality whereby there was a need for these professionals to seek similar counseling or support.
Some studies have been completed to examine the impacts of this pandemic on the overall wellbeing of many medical workers. For instance, Altungy et al. (2022) observed that COVID-19 had negative effects on the psychological wellbeing of medical experts where working on the frontline. Most of these professionals recorded adverse outcomes for their mental health during the first year of the pandemic (Altungy et al., 2022). With the uncertainties associated with this disease, majority of the mental health professionals encountered numerous risks that affecting their overall wellbeing. Altungy et al. (2022) indicates that majority of these workers were unsure of how use personal protective equipment (PPE) more effectively. Others were worried since they did not know how to avoid infection despite being close to affected patients, and the concerns about the welfare of their family members. Consequently, majority of the affected mental health workers found it hard to overcome such problems and pursue their goals diligently.
In their survey, Altungy et al. (2021) included 897 nurses working in community-based and inpatient mental health settings to explore the impacts of the pandemic on their overall experiences. The researcher observed that over 60 percent of the respondents were unable to cope with the emerging new work weeks. The move to embrace new technologies for remote work arrangements also strained the efficiencies and outcomes of most of these professionals aged above 40 years (De Kock, 2021). Many mental health workers were unsure whether their direct contact with patients could expose them to this condition. Consequently, the professionals became more disturbed and incapable of pursuing their goals. The requirement to work in challenging settings and continue guiding troubled patients worsened their mental health even further.
The presence of proper mechanisms to support clinicians and nurses is essential and helps address most of their mental and social challenges. Unfortunately, the emergence of COVID-19 found a sector that lacked proper guidelines to empower and meet the psychological issues workers in the mental health sector could face (British Medical Association, 2020). The UK health system had been designed in such a way that it failed to support these mental health nurses since they were identified as experts in the field. Their having to work in unsuitable environments worsened their overall experiences and mental outcomes (De Kock, 2021). The relevant leaders also failed to offer additional incentives and support to guide these professionals and help them to overcome their anxieties.
Many mental health nurses work in different settings in the UK, including community health centers and medical facilities. During the pandemic, the number of persons in need of mental health, psychological, and counseling in the country increased significantly by around 38 percent (Annual Statistics, 2021). This worrisome trend could be attributed to the issues associated with the new pandemic. For example, the recorded deaths in the country affected the elderly and persons with chronic conditions. This unprecedented outcome left many family members stressed and incapable of coping with the new realities. The professionals were, therefore, compelled to work harder and remain committed to helping this increasing number of patients. This new trend requires mental health professionals to have face-to-face conversations with such clients (Annual Statistics, 2021). They were also required to apply additional strategies and engage in unfamiliar work weeks. Consequently, the new undertakings affected their overall mental, psychological, and emotional wellbeing. These outcomes emerged at a time when sustainable mechanisms to help mental health nurses and psychiatrists lacked in the country.
In yet another study, British Medical Association (2020) observed that many nurses working in different health settings in the UK encountered numerous challenges that affected their overall experiences. In the report, it was revealed that around 39 percent of mental health nurses under NHS recorded cases of insomnia, depression, or anxiety (British Medical Association, 2020). Female professionals working in the sector were also observed to be affected the most. In advanced cases, a small percentage of nurses in the mental health field reported symptoms that matched those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at around 20 percent (Annual Statistics, 2021). These outcomes were a clear indication that such experts were compelled to work in risky conditions while focusing the demands of more people affected by the ongoing pandemic. Other identifiable issues most of these workers faced in their respective working environments included poor sleep quality, anxiety, and psychological distress (Gilleen et al., 2021). These outcomes were worsened by the fact that there were inadequate measures or strategies to help most of these professionals.
After examining most of the researches and investigations focusing on this subject matters, it is evident that majority of the scholars agree that many mental health professionals encountered numerous problems. Most of the affected individuals found it hard to offer the best support to their patients. The increasing challenges exposed the loopholes in the country’s measures to help individuals who were working with COVID-19 patients. Such observations present a strong reason for introducing superior guidelines to meet the needs of these clinicians. The findings are also essential since they guide stakeholders to formulate new policies, tackle the aftermath of this pandemic, and consider better ways to empower mental health nurses (Gilleen et al., 2021). This knowledge could also trigger better models for helping all medical workers in the country and ensuring that they remain empowered to continue providing personalized medical services in the future.
The completed discussion has revealed that COVID-19 has had negative impacts on the overall well-being and experiences of medical professionals working in mental health departments. These workers faced numerous challenges directly linked to the need to provide counseling to an increasing number of clients. Their work models compelled them to come into contact with more individuals, thereby increasing their risks of developing the disease. The recorded cases of PTSD, depression and anxiety made it harder for these experts to pursue their goals. Such observations explain why there is a need for the government to consider evidence-based guidelines and support mechanisms to help all medical professionals today and in the future.
Altungy, P., Torres, R., Liébana, S., Saiz, J., & Sánchez-Marqueses, J. M. (2022). An exploratory study on mental health and burnout in social care workers of an emergency shelter for the homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clínica y Salud, 33(1), 29-34. Web.
Annual Statistics. (2021). Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, 2021. HSE.
British Medical Association. (2020). The mental health and well-being of the medical workforce – Now and beyond COVID-19. BMA.
De Kock, M. (2021). A rapid review of the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare workers’ mental health: Implications for supporting psychological well-being. BMC Public Health, 21(1), 104-121. Web.
Foye, U., Dalton-Locke, C., Harju-Seppänen, J., Lane, R., Beames, L., Juan, N. V. S., Johnson, S., & Simpson, A. (2021). How has COVID-19 affected mental health nurses and the delivery of mental health nursing care in the UK? Results of a mixed-methods study. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 28(2), 126-137. Web.
Gilleen, J., Santaolalla, A., Valdearenas, L., Salice, C., & Fusté, M. (2021). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and well-being of UK healthcare workers. BJPsych Open, 7(3), e88. Web.
My discussion with the tutor was successful since it helped me get a clear understanding of the intended topic. The effort made it easier for me to consider all the key requirements of the essay question. We settled on this topic for the research: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Mental Health Nurses in the United Kingdom (UK). The tutor also guided me to identify a number of possible high-quality sources to complete the essay. Some of the outlined ones included journals and reports by leading government agencies. Such sources would make it easier for me to develop a high-quality paper and shed more light on the topic of study.
|Brainstorming||This activity will allow me to analyze the topic and examine whether it meets the outlined demands or not. I will also make sure the identified topic can be researched and deliver insightful ideas or observations.||Week One|
|Sources gathering||Prior to writing the essay, I will gather adequate sources that will provide additional information. I will consider a number of attributes during the exercise. Some of them would include timeliness of the source (published not more than 5 years ago), accuracy of the materials, direct focus on the topic, and peer-reviewed.||Week two|
|Specific sources||Six academic sources, with two of them providing statistical information, will be considered. These articles are outlined below (see completed paper’s References section): |
The outlined sources are timely, focus directly on the topic, and are capable of providing the much needed evidence to support the paper.
|Composing/Writing Essay||The last activity would be to compose the essay based on the provided instructions. I will begin with a draft and edit it to reflect the final essay||Week 4|
|Source||Main Points||Key Quotes|
|De Kock (2021).||Medical workers encounters negative experiences and outcomes due to the issues associated with COVID-19.||“Health and social care workers (HSCWs) have carried a heavy burden during the COVID-19 crisis and, in the challenge to control the virus, have directly faced its consequences”.|
|Annual Statistics. (2021).||Mental health nurses suffered negative consequences due to COVID-19. |
Such challenges included anxiety, depression, and work-related stress.
|“822,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or |
long-standing) in 2020/21”.
“In the recent years prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety had shown signs of increasing. In 2020/21 the rate was higher than the 2018/19 pre-coronavirus levels”.
|Gilleen et al. (2021).||COVID-19 triggered numerous health challenges among medical professionals. |
Frontline workers were at a higher risk of additional challenges.
Workplace stresses need to inform better ideas and programs in the future.
|“Nearly a third of HCWs reported moderate to severe levels of anxiety and depression, and the number reporting very high symptoms was more than quadruple that pre-COVID-19.”|
|British Medical Association. (2020).||COVID-19 led to negative experiences among health workers. |
Mental health workers were affected by the pandemic.
Cases common during the time identified these symptoms: stress, mental health problems, and depression.
|“Around 45% of doctors are suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, burnout or other mental health conditions relating to, or made worse by, the COVID-19 crisis”.|
|Altungy et al. (2022).||COVID-19 led to distressing experiences to mental health workers in community centers. |
Some of the individuals were able to adapt to the recorded challenges.
|“results showed that, overall, workers displayed good levels of psychological adaptation to their workplace during the two months and a half that the emergency centre was running”.|
|Foye et al. (2021)||COVID-19 affected mental health professionals negatively.||“This paper aimed to explore how COVID-19 has affected the ability of mental health nurses to deliver care in community and inpatient mental health services in the UK”.|
Task Four: First Draft (Key Points Only)
- The ongoing coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has affected many people in the United Kingdom (UK), including mental health nurses, psychologists, and therapists.
- Foye et al. (2021) observed that around 61 percent of mental health nurses reported a number of psychological problems, including stress, emotional turmoil, and depression. In the same study, Foye et al. (2021) identified specific attributes that led to these mental problems, including the need to deal with more people with troubled experiences, fear of getting infected, and responses to patients with a totally new medical condition.
- COVID-19 had negative effects on the psychological wellbeing of medical experts where working on the frontline.
- Mental health workers have recorded numerous challenges directly linked to the need to provide counseling to an increasing number of clients.
- Their work models compelled them to come into contact with more individuals, thereby increasing their risks for developing the disease.
- The recorded cases of PTSD, depression, and anxiety made it harder for these experts to pursue their goals.
- Such observations explain why there is a need for the government to consider evidence-based guidelines and support mechanisms to help all medical professionals today and in the future.