Working and volunteering during the pandemic – Mental Health At Work
11/05/2020

Working and volunteering during the pandemic

A GP sitting at her desk, wearing a face mask that has been lowered, smiling
Anne Cooper

GP Practice Manager and listening volunteer at Samaritans Ealing

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.


A GP sitting at her desk, wearing a face mask that has been lowered, smiling

I have worked as a Practice Manager for 11 years. It is a stressful time for everyone right now and we are seeing continued demand for GP services. Patients are anxious and the call consultations reflect this. We are calling all our ‘shielded’ patients weekly to ensure they are OK and have access to the services that they are needing, and for some this is the only communication they have on a regular basis. Difficult conversations are being had by our clinicians when talking through advance care planning – and the whole practice are emotionally impacted when hearing one of our patients has passed away.

Volunteers are rallying round and trying to pick up extra shifts

I have been a Samaritans listening volunteer for 8 years. At my branch the volunteers are rallying round and trying to pick up extra shifts as and when they can to keep the service going. There are more COVID-19-related calls; it is just an added dimension on top of things that are already tough for some if they are experiencing depression or suffering from anxiety.

You realise working at a GP’s surgery that, for some people, their contact with the surgery is a lifeline

I volunteer because I wanted to be able to have the time to listen to people. You realise working at a GP’s surgery that, for some people, their contact with the surgery is a lifeline. The general chit chat with the receptionists is a big part of their day and you realise how important it is that we do that.

For me, it is rewarding knowing that we as Samaritans are able to be there 24/7 for people who want to talk through difficulties. Volunteering with Samaritans is part of my day-to-day life now.


Read more stories from workers on the frontline during the pandemic.