Hundreds of nurses who called charity helpline during pandemic had attempted suicide

Laura Hyde Foundation produces suicide prevention resource amid ‘mental health pandemic’

Laura Hyde Foundation produces suicide prevention resource for all healthcare staff in response to ‘mental health pandemic’ in the sector

Emergency nurse sits with head in hands after removing personal protective equipment
Picture: iStock

More than 200 nurses who contacted a charity helpline during the COVID-19 pandemic had attempted suicide, the organisation said.

The Laura Hyde Foundation has responded by creating a free suicide prevention resource for all emergency services staff, their colleagues and patients.

Foundation warns of ‘pandemic of mental health problems’

The charity, which was set up by the family of Royal Navy nurse Laura Hyde, who died by suicide in 2016, says between 1 April 2020 and 30 April 2021, 226 nurses who contacted its free mental health support service said they had acted on suicidal thoughts.

The foundation’s chair and Ms Hyde’s cousin Liam Barnes said: ‘Make no mistake, we are now entering a new pandemic. A pandemic of mental health problems for front-line workers who stepped up at a time of national emergency.

‘We believe that the resource highlights fit-for-purpose support lines, but also provides education and destigmatisation on the topic of suicide and the distinct conditions that can lead to it.’

Signposting and how to help a colleague who is having suicidal thoughts

The resource explains that someone who is feeling suicidal may display changes in their personality and behaviour. These signs can include becoming anxious or quiet and sleeping too much or too little.

In addition, the resource advises on how to help someone who is feeling suicidal, as well as the contact details for organisations that help people with mental health issues.

Figures relating to NHS staff and death by suicide are stark. According to NHS Employers, nurses are four times as likely to die by suicide than people working in other professions in the UK.

Thousands of NHS workers access support at COVID-19 well-being hubs

In response to the trauma experienced by NHS staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS England launched mental health and well-being hubs offering confidential advice and support. To date, more than 10,000 staff have contacted the service.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘It is crucial that all front-line healthcare staff working tirelessly to protect the health of the nation throughout this pandemic are given the support they deserve and need, and we encourage any staff member to seek support if they need it.’

Find out more

The Laura Hyde Foundation: Your Suicide Prevention Resource

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