On the eve of World Mental Health Day, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is launching a social media campaign to raise awareness of the sustained burden the COVID-19 pandemic poses on the mental health of frontline health workers in the Americas, including the Caribbean.
PAHO on Friday invited the workers to share their stories and strategies “to better manage and cope with this added challenge.”
The campaign, “Mental Health Now – Tell Your Story”, will collect written and video stories from healthcare workers in the Americas through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which will be compiled and disseminated through PAHO’s website and social media channels until the end of the year
It said the story selection will be based on specific criteria, “aiming to portray the breadth of the effects of the pandemic and display the diversity of the Americas.”
“Health workers have sacrificed so much in order to care for people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this has even affected their mental health in many cases,” said Dr Renato Oliveira e Souza, PAHO’s Mental Health and Substance Use Unit Chief.
“The campaign will amplify health workers’ voices so there is more understanding of the mental health challenges they have been facing,” he added. “It will promote listening and dialogue, urging health service managers to take action to help their workers.”
Preliminary data from the COVID-19 HEalth caRe wOrkErS (HEROES) study, a collaboration between the University of Chile, Columbia University in the United States and PAHO, indicate that, between 5 per cent and 15 per cent of respondents in several countries in the Americas reported suicidal thoughts in the two weeks prior to being consulted for the survey.