‘Deeply worried’: Counselling service helps 300 frontline Covid staff

A Suffolk charity has given advice to those with seasonal affective disorder Picture: NEWSCAST ONLIN

Counselling service Key Link has helped hundreds of frontline workers in Suffolk cope with the Covid-19 crisis - Credit: Archant

The burden of coronavirus crisis on frontline workers has been laid bare – as a Suffolk counselling service revealed it had helped 300 nurses, teachers, carers and others cope with the pandemic. 

Suffolk-based psychoanalyst Sonia Richards set up Key Link to provide free counselling to those fighting Covid-19 on the frontline, saying she “wanted to do something to help” ease the emotional toll of the crisis. 

She assembled a team of more than 70 counsellors in a very short space of time - with each willing to give their time for free to support those still working during the emergency in healthcare, key public services, education and shops. 

Now, nine months on, Ms Richards said Key Link has helped 300 frontline staff with online and telephone support – often providing support within 24 hours notice. 

“It is hard and perhaps wrong to put a price on the services that Key Link has delivered - and is delivering - but a conservative estimate would be in the region of £80,000,” Ms Richards said. 

While she stresses the community-spirited response should complement instead of replace state provision, she said: “If nothing else, this crisis should tell us we need to unite to fight this thing. 

“Many of those we have helped are deeply worried about the risk to their own health and that of their loved ones. 

“They face a situation that many of us do not have to face.  

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“This is hard for all of us. But frontline workers cannot work from home or self-isolate. Choice has been taken away from them by circumstances. 

“Their jobs were stressful enough before, but now…” 

The free service will continue at least until spring 2021. 

Of setting up Key Link, she added: “We felt that we had to do something and quickly.  

“As therapists, we see in our consulting rooms the mental health impact of stressful and demanding jobs on individuals.  

“Those stresses have increased massively due to Covid-19.  

“We have continued to be available, often within 24 hours notice to provide immediate, free counselling help where other services might have been difficult to access.  

“I feel we can be justly proud that we have built this from nothing.” 

For more information, visit the Key Link website

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