NIGHT, a charity which has been established to raise funds to provide confidential mental health treatment to NHS nurses (including midwives and HCAs), has launched a fundraising and awareness campaign to highlight the issues being faced by nurses.

It is asking sports stars, celebrities, and influencers to share a supportive social media post and donate one of their old personal shirts, football shirt, cricket jumper or any other shirt that can be auctioned to raise money that will be used to pay for independent, confidential assessment and treatment.

LITERALLY, THE SHIRTS OFF THEIR BACKS!

The charity was formed during the pandemic, but depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD and other conditions have affected nurses for a long time before Covid and will continue to do so afterwards.

Peter Arndt from NIGHT said: “The work NIGHT was set up to tackle is absolutely vital, and we are appealing to well-known people to lend us their social media collateral, and to give the shirt off their back to support our nurses.

“It has always been challenging for healthcare professionals; however the unprecedented pandemic has brought this into sharper focus and has undoubtedly taken its toll on their mental wellbeing.

“The reasons nurses, and even doctors, administrators and support staff, who we hope to extend the service to in the future, do not always seek treatment for personal mental health concerns are varied and complex.

“Some fear if they disclose a mental illness, they may be subject to sanctions from their employer or professional regulator, or even lose their job.  Some fear the loss of confidentiality, that their personal details will be
disclosed, or that they will be subject to gossip.  Many, particularly doctors, feel ashamed of having a mental illness because they cannot ‘fix’ themselves.

“With mental wellbeing services from the NHS being currently overstretched and challenged despite recent announcements, it is difficult to access full support within the organisation itself. In fact, the NHS has encouraged individuals to seek assistance from the fantastic public mental health charities currently in operation, but none to our knowledge goes as far as providing confidential no-cost direct clinical support to the patient.

“We hope that NIGHT and its aims will chime with enough people that the campaign will be hugely successful, and we can help more and more people.”

Stark statistics include:

  • The monthly sickness rate among health service staff in England was 6.2% in April this year – up from 5.4% the month before and the highest level recorded since April 2009
  • Anxiety, stress, depression, or other psychiatric illnesses were the most reported reasons for sickness leave, at 20.9%
  • 24% of 4,063 nurses and midwives across the UK, surveyed between 28 April and 12 May 2020, said they were suffering severe or extremely severe depression
  • Between 30 and 51 nurses per year take their own lives meaning the suicide rate amongst nurses is 23% higher than the national average. In just six years between 2011 and 2017, at least 307 NHS nurses took their own lives.
  • Only around 1% of nurses, midwives and HCAs requested mental health support.

For more information or to donate – www.nightfornurses.co.uk