COVID-19: Be­ing on call for Ire­land

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - NEWS - By TADHG EVANS

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

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