This post is intended to rally support for the mental wellbeing of our South African Healthcare workers by calling for volunteer mental health professionals.

I chatted to Pippa Hudson on Cape Talk radio about an initiative I started last week…

I’m the wife of a doctor who works in the state healthcare system of South Africa.

While some (it seems) are creating, consuming and sharing content online that’s either a) not true and b) intended to evoke fear and panic among the masses, there’s so much real and useful information that’s not being shared as widely as it should be. Information that could actually help those on the front line of dealing with this pandemic.

Many of us are scared, many of us are uncertain what the future will look like, and most of us are dealing with these fears and insecurities from the relative comfort of our homes where we’ve stocked our cupboards, bleached everything in sight, and where we can escape reality for a few hours at time while binge-watching Netflix, YouTube or re-watching that box-set of Friends.

But you know who can’t escape reality?

Who can’t stay home and let somebody else deal with this problem?

Our healthcare professionals.

From the doctors, to the trainees, to the nurses through to the allied healthcare workers. They CAN’T avoid facing the reality of the storm that hasn’t fully made landfall, relative to our northern hemisphere neighbours.

I’m not a medical person and I’m not a psychologist, but I can read anxiety and concern in someone’s face, hear it in their voice, and observe it in their body language.

 

Our medical personnel are concerned. And rightly so. The advice they’re receiving from their medical counterparts in Italy, the UK, the US and the rest of the countries deeply wounded by this pandemic sounds like an over-dramatised movie script. But it’s not a movie.

Based on the REAL information from EXPERIENCED, EDUCATED and TRUSTED sources, South African medical teams are receiving a 2 week glimpse into our collective futures. Except, that the information they’re receiving is from 1st world countries who started out with sufficient medical resources, who are now battling to keep up with demand.

The South African State Healthcare System

In the South African state healthcare system, our teams are starting this war with a relative deficit of resources and they’re expected to provide adequate medical care to those in need.

This is understandably weighing on the hearts and minds of the people we’re all expecting to come to our rescue.

They’re expected to fight this thing with limitations because there might not be enough ventilators, there might not be enough personal protective equipment and there might not be enough beds.

This is understandably weighing on the hearts and minds of the people we’re all expecting to come to our rescue.

They’re expected put their own lives at risk, and the lives of the families they go home to every night after a day of exposure. And that’s if their families haven’t isolated themselves away.

This is understandably weighing on the hearts and minds of the people we’re all expecting to come to our rescue.

They are like soldiers facing a David and Goliath war with limited amount of armor and weapons.
The South African healthcare system is often over-burdened and under resourced at the best of times.

Please can we help them?

  • Help them by STAYING HOME AND STAYING ISOLATED. If you don’t have symptoms STAY HOME. Only if you’re concerned seek help from a healthcare professional.
  • Help them by SANITIZING EVERYTHING –  HANDS, GROCERIES, DOOR HANDLES, KEYS, CLOTHES. Everything you touch if you HAVE to go out, has potential to spread it.
  • Help them by NOT CREATING AND SHARING FAKE NEWS. If you don’t know the source of the information, rather don’t share it.
  • Help them by SHARING THIS POST

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Below is a Google Form I created, asking for volunteer psychologists, psychiatrists & counsellors who are willing to offer their services for free via phone or online platforms of their choosing, to give our medical teams the option of talking to someone if they feel the need to during these challenging times.

They are humans before they are trained medical professionals. Please help them.

I’m sure I can speak for all the other wives, husbands, children, parents, families and loved ones of all medical personnel in South Africa at this time when I say…

Please help.

And thank you for your contribution.

If you’re a medical professional and you’d like access to the list of volunteer psychologists, psychiatrists & counselors, please GET IN TOUCH. This list has also been distributed through informal channels to the medical community in Cape Town.

PLEASE NOTE: The list of Mental Health Professionals has not been vetted, and you should determine suitability at your own discretion.

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