Health experts on the psychological cost of Covid-19 | World news | The Guardian
The nurse from Sierra Leone quoted at the beginning of this article recalled her feelings of being alone, at risk and anxious. “Initially it was chaos – we didn’t have equipment, we didn’t have senior support, we were short-staffed.” For two long weeks, she and her colleagues worked in an environment she compared to a war zone, tending to patients who were “very unwell, very unstable, very sick... We didn’t even have masks. We were tired, dehydrated, thirsty,” she continued, still sounding traumatised. She recalled returning home each night to her daughters, thinking: “What is happening? How far will this go?” That anonymous nurse belongs to the BAME community who make up 20% of the NHS workforce. On 25 May, the Guardian reported that 200 healthcare workers had died from Covid-19. More than six out of 10 victims were from BAME backgrounds. One of their number was urologist Abdul Mabud Chowdhury, whose 18-year-old son voiced what many inside the NHS were feeling. “It’s good to see NHS workers getting the recognition they deserve,” he said, “but they should not have to give their lives, they should not have to go as martyrs. They did not sign up to battle on the frontline and give up their lives.” In the coming second pandemic of mental health issues, it may well be those we heralded as heroes who will be among the most vulnerable, alongside key workers on low incomes who also toiled through this long emergency at considerable and often unnecessary risk to their health, their lives.