07 May 2020


RACGP welcomes mental health and masks announcement

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that more masks and greater mental health support will be made available for the nation’s hardworking healthcare workers.

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon said that the additional masks will make a real difference in keeping workers safe.

“I welcome the Government’s announcement that forty million more masks will be made available.

“I have been advocating strongly for many months for more personal protective equipment for healthcare workers so that our hardworking GPs can be kept safe.

“So it is great news that the Government has heeded those calls and will be delivering three and half million masks for primary healthcare workers from the national medical stockpile.

“We aren’t out of the woods yet, many GPs are still reporting that they simply don’t have enough personal protective equipment and that is one of the RACGP’s highest priorities. However, today’s announcement is certainly a positive step forward.”

RACGP spokesperson Dr Genevieve Yates said that taking care of the mental health of healthcare workers was extremely important.

“Mental health is complex, there are many underlying causes and no one size fits all explanation for every person. However, I will say that many healthcare workers, including GPs, have been put under enormous pressure on the frontline combating COVID-19.

“Some have had abuse directed at them from patients and of course there is always the increased prospect of contracting the virus themselves in a clinical environment. So that extra strain will no doubt have been one factor in some healthcare workers experiencing mental health concerns.

“So it is an extremely positive development that from today the Black Dog Institute’s online e-health mental health hub is available for our incredible healthcare workers. This is something that the RACGP has been fighting strongly for and it will make a real difference.

“We need to keep fighting the stigma, there is no shame in reaching out and seeking help if you have concerns about your mental health.

“I can’t stress this enough - if you need to talk to someone please reach out and take advantage of this service because it could make all the difference.

“It is not a sign of weakness to seek help, many people have gone through what you are experiencing and have come out the other side.

“Spread the word and check in with your colleagues if you are worried about them, we are all in this together.”

 


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