World Mental Health Day – Protecting the Nursing Workforce

World Mental Health Day – Protecting the Nursing Workforce

Posted on October 9, 2020

10 October every year marks the “World Mental Health Day“, an opportunity to remind all healthcare stakeholders and citizens of the importance of mental health – in conjunction with physical health – and the importance of breaking the social stigmas around it, and raising its importance. The 2020’s theme is “Move for mental health: Increased investment in mental health”.

The EFN, in the representation of 3 million EU nurses, would like to remind all EU stakeholders and officials that since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak the frontline nurses have been greatly exposed to unprecedented situations, a lot of pressure and responsibility towards the decisions they had to make (which were often taken in insufficiently funded healthcare systems). Altogether, these have taken a toll on the mental health of nurses – which is something we should all tackle to improve the situation.

Last July, the EFN and GAMIAN-Europe jointly signed a statement calling on the EU institutions, all EU Member States, the health industry and all other health stakeholders to:

  1. Put in place national and local programmes to support frontline nurses who are caring for COVID-19 patients to preserve their mental health and avoid psychological trauma
  2. Condemn and combat the stigmatisation of nurses taking care of COVID-19 patients e.g. by means of official communications, also making use of the media.
  3. Foster the co-creation and co-design of political decision-making processes involving frontline nurses, concerning Infectious Disease of High Consequence preparedness, health protocols, training, and the selection of appropriate equipment.
  4. Work closely with the nursing professions to develop policies that protect nursing staff from unnecessarily difficult or unsafe working conditions, particularly when caring for COVID-19 patients.
  5. Allocate EU funds to support frontline nurses, re-allocating already agreed on budgets to inject funds into the nursing frontline and nursing research, with the aim to be better prepared for future COVID-19 waves