Mental health issues on the rise in Leicester hospital staff

By Courtney Stevens

The Number of NHS staff in Leicester hospitals who have reported absent due to depression and anxiety has increased since the start of the pandemic. 

Over the pandemic NHS staff have been under a lot of pressure to keep everyone safe and healthy which has led to an increase in depression, anxiety, burnout and other mental health issues. 

Becca McDonald, a third-year nursing student at De Montfort University, said her mental health has suffered during the pandemic: 

“I’ve found my social anxiety is a lot higher now and I’m finding it difficult to adapt back to normal.’ 

“I’ve noticed stress levels increasing drastically since the pandemic with lots of healthcare staff having to take time off due to their mental health or stress.”  

Figures show that between September 2018 and October 2019 there were 1,320 members of staff who reported absent due to mental health issues compared to 1,768 members of staff who reported absent between September 2020 and October 2021. 

Miss McDonald has noticed the impact the pandemic has had on NHS staff: 

“I try to avoid taking days off and I push myself to be productive, saying that, I have had to take one or two days off because of being completely exhausted and I know that I can’t practice safely if I’m not mentally equipped.’ 

“Lots of staff have left their jobs, either because of long covid making them too ill to work in healthcare anymore, or because of the issues that went on during the pandemic causing people to dislike their job and finding it better to leave.”  

Figures also show that there is a difference in the number of men reporting absent compared to the number of women.  

Between September 2018 and October 2019, there were 1,169 women and 151 men who reported absent compared to 1,549 women and 219 men who reported absent between September 2020 and October 2021. 

During the pandemic staff were offered extra support due to the rise of depression and anxiety that they were experiencing.  

40 well-being hubs that were opened to give all health and social care staff access to psychologists. 

Miss McDonald said there is support available to her through the university: 

“The well-being team are incredible, offering six-week blocks of counselling when required.  

“I am also aware of NHS staff being signposted to classes such as meditation or yoga to help those that may benefit from them.”  

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