The Care Workers' Charity is fundraising to introduce Mental Health Grants for people working in the social care sector to help combat the issues staff are facing. The grants will make counselling or therapy available to people who qualify.
Research from the Charity in 2019 found that social care staff were experiencing mental health issues which could be attributed to their work and that many were finding themselves in in-work poverty, due to their low-paid and emotionally-charged frontline roles as care workers. This situation has only worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) also conducted a survey during the early months of the pandemic which recognised that the residential care sector alone has three times as many beds as hospitals do. Of the people surveyed, 80% of respondents reported 'very negative experiences' of working between March and May 2020, while as many as 56% of respondents felt 'worse or much worse in terms of their physical and mental wellbeing'. Other contributing factors to their negative feelings included not being valued, poor terms and conditions of employment, feeling blamed for deaths of the people they support and a lack of clear guidance. This demonstrates a clear need for more support for staff's mental health.
In light of this, The Care Workers' Charity's Mental Health Grants will offer eligible care workers sessions of therapy or counselling tailored to the needs of the individual, delivered by licensed professionals.
Karolina Gerlich, Executive Director at The Care Workers’ Charity says, 'The coronavirus pandemic has shown the resilience and determination of care and support workers as they have continued to care for the most vulnerable members of our society. The toll on the mental health of care and support workers has been great, long before the pandemic. However, COVID-19 has exasperated the mental wellbeing of individuals who may have struggled with their mental health previously, and people who have never previously struggled with anxiety or depression are now finding their mental health is suffering.
'We are now appealing for support and donations to this fund to help us ensure care workers receive the right type of guidance and support to help them through what has been a very dark period for most.'
Donations of any size can be made by following visiting the dedicated webpage.