Battle-weary healthcare workers plead for help and support during COVID-19

Healthcare workers are suffering knock-on effects of the pandemic with many facing depression, increased anxiety, compassion fatigue and more.

Laeeka Philander works in the COVID-19 High Care Unit at Tygerberg Hospital. Picture: Western Cape Government Health

CAPE TOWN - Healthcare workers have implored the public to help and support them throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as it continues to take a toll on their mental health.

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For Mental Health Awareness Month, some frontline staffers have been sharing their experiences since it first appeared in South Africa 17 months ago.

It's no secret that healthcare workers were suffering knock-on effects of the pandemic with many facing depression, increased anxiety, compassion fatigue and more.

Laeeka Philander who works in the COVID-19 High Care Unit at Tygerberg Hospital, the largest such facility in the Western Cape, said, “People would die in front of you and then you must just be okay. And then the next person comes in that same bed, but you haven’t even mourned that previous patient yet. It was scary."

Rajendra Laljith, a paramedic, said the best support would be to get inoculated.

“The thing we can do to protect ourselves and everybody else is if everybody gets vaccinated so we can eradicate this pandemic.”

Those in need were encouraged to reach out to organisations like the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.

If you, or someone you know, are showing signs of mental health challenges, including depression, burnout, or mental distress, please reach out.

South African Depression and Anxiety Group:
Suicidal Emergency contact: 0800 567 567
24hr Helpline: 0800 456 789

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