You matter – not just as a frontline worker, but as a person
NHS GP, broadcaster and wellbeing campaigner
As part of the Our Frontline campaign to support the mental health of all those out working to protect us during the coronavirus crisis, we’ll be regularly sharing stories, tips and other thoughts about what life is like for them at the moment, in their own words.
Today, Dr. Radha, a practising NHS GP and broadcaster, writes an open letter of support to all frontline workers.
Dear our frontline workers,
This letter is for you. It is to let you know that how you feel matters to me. And how you are coping matters to me. You are a frontline worker. You are also a human being with your own feelings, worries, personal challenges and concerns, and with people in your life that you love. And you matter, not just as a frontline worker, but as a person.
You have done, continue to do and will go on doing so much for others in the most challenging, traumatic & uncertain times. Our world has been changed forever. These unique set of challenges have never been seen. And yet, you were still there for all of us. But I want you to know that your needs are seen. I want you to feel heard.
For the times you made someone smile, helped someone feel less lonely, kept us all going
I want to say thank you. For the times you went to work unsure of what you might face; the times you took that extra step to support, care and reassure someone else; the times you put on a brave face when inside you felt scared and worried; for the times you went to work with worries in your mind about yourself, your family and your own personal struggles; and the times you stepped up to the challenges and dug deep when you had little emotional reserve left, or reassured someone else when you yourself needed that reassurance; for the times when you held a phone to someone’s ear so they could hear their relative’s last words; for the times you made someone smile, helped someone feel less lonely, kept us all going.
And all of this, when for some of you, you could have never foreseen that you would ever have had to deal with anything like this in your chosen job or role, and for others, even with crisis training, nothing would have ever prepared you for this.
But, for all you have given, continue to give and will give, we need to give the same back to you. In taking care of others, please do not forget to take care of yourself. We cannot give to others what we don’t have or give to ourselves. We forget our own mental health needs looking after others first.
I want you to know you are not alone. You often work round the clock; I want you to know support is there for you round the clock too. You don’t have to be on your own with your thoughts, feelings, or worries.
When we realise we are not alone something magical can happen
When we realise we are not alone something magical can happen – we reach out, we take the mask off, we realise that we can get help and we can feel better, and we help others around us to do the same by sharing how we feel. You may have to wear a mask at work but please don’t feel you need to wear one when someone asks you how you are. Please don’t feel you must mask your feelings or hide that your mental health is being affected as a frontline worker.
Pass this letter on; even if it helps one frontline worker know they are not alone and there is support for them, then it will be the most important letter you send.
You are not alone.
Dr Radha and Our Frontline
Read more stories from workers on the frontline during the pandemic.