COVID-19: Being on call for Ireland
A LIOS Póil-born counsellor and psychotherapist is among the tens of thousands of healthcare professionals who have registered to ‘Be on Call for Ireland’.
Tom Evans – this writer’s uncle – works in Midleton, County Cork, where he runs the SelfCare and TeamCare operations.
Mr Evans explained that he had enquired to the HSE in the run-up to the launch of the health service’s call-toaction, which is seeking out healthcare professionals not working with the public health service to register to help the HSE in the fight against COVID-19.
Mr Evans explained that he offered well-being support to patients and front-line HSE staff as the country gets to grips with the COVID-19 crisis.
“I got an e-mail back and was directed to a webpage where you can register your interest in being called up,” he told The Kerryman. “The process of registering was very short, and there was a myriad of opportunities to get involved in different areas, but I chose to stick to where my strengths are.”
Mr Evans has 12 years’ experience as a counsellor and feels his know-how in the area of critical-incident stress management could prove especially useful in protecting the mental health of HSE frontline workers, who have and continue to face up to this unprecedented health crisis.
“The fear I have is for HSE frontline staff is that they may develop PTSD symptoms in the months ahead,” he said. “They are currently working in a day-to-day flurry, and what can, at times, resemble a war zone; they are literally dealing with life-and-death situations on a daily basis.
“It’s likely they won’t have time to process this, the enormity of what they’re meeting on a day-to-day basis, and that’s where critical-incident stress management comes in.
“There’s no doubt the HSE already have their mental-health support teams in place, but as they’ll be inundated, I figured I’d offer back-up.”
Interestingly, the HSE has launched a web-page with mental-health guidance for staff during the outbreak.
Within 24 hours, some 24,000 people, including Mr Evans, had registered their interest to be on call for Ireland, and that number has since risen to over 60,000 – and he is hopeful even more people will join him on that list.
“I think there’s a sense that it’s ‘all hands on deck’ right now,” he said.
“Initially people might have been fearful, but when you work through that process, you can find empowerment – and the next step after that is to take action. I think you can see that sense coming about now as people process the enormity of this.”
To sign up to the ‘Be on Call for Ireland’ register, visit hbsrecruitmentservices.ie.
Tom Evans: Lios Póil-born counsellor and psychotherapist