08 Aug 2022

Watch: Kilkenny TD calls for frontline workers' mental health to be resourced

'A dedicated service accessible 24/7 would be vital to the mental health of our workers'


 TD Malcolm Noonan speaking in the Dail yesterday. Video: Kapwing

Local TD Malcolm Noonan has called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to put resources in place to ensure that the mental wellbeing of frontline workers in healthcare is taken care of during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In his second Dail speech yesterday, the new Green Party TD and Community Development Spokesperson said that frontline staff had little or no access to mental health or counselling services despite dealing with very distressing and stressful circumstances on a daily basis. He said that their situation was compounded by the fact that they were turning in to work every day knowing they could be infected and going home from shifts not being able to hug loved ones.

 TD Malcolm Noonan speaking in the Dail yesterday. Video: Kapwing

"Twenty-five percent of cases of infection from Covid-19 are of frontline medical staff, yet the Occupational Health Department are completely immersed in logging, reporting and directing staff to isolation so there are no resources being directed towards support, peer support or counselling," said Deputy Noonan.

At yesterday’s sitting of the Dail for Statements on Health, Deputy Noonan said that resources needed to be put in place for 24/7 access to mental health support for HSE staff but also for those working on other frontline sectors; disability service providers, nursing home staff and all who are working to limit the impact of the pandemic and save lives.

"The working environment for health care workers is extremely challenging. The focus has rightly been on supports such has PPE but we also need to make sure their mental health is cared for. Yet there is no access to emotional support for these workers. I do hope that Minister Harris is in a position to address this gap in support as a matter of urgency."

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