Free counselling offered to Suffolk workers fighting coronavirus

Key Link is offering counselling to frontline workers in Suffolk. Picture: Time to change/Newscast O

Key Link is offering counselling to frontline workers in Suffolk. Picture: Time to change/Newscast Online - Credit: Time to change/Newscast Online

A team of more than 70 counsellors have joined forces to help frontline workers deal with the emotional impact of fighting coronavirus in Suffolk.

Suffolk-based psychoanalyst Sonia Richards said she “wanted to do something to help” after seeing the crisis deepening, with hundreds of people officially diagnosed with Covid-19 in the county but the actual figures likely to be much higher.

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Exactly when the peak of cases will hit Suffolk cannot be predicted - but Ipswich Hospital chief executive Nick Hulme has warned it is currently the “calm before the storm”.

Mr Hulme said this is “a really frightening time for anybody”, adding: “I see the fear in patients, I see the fear in staff.”

Several coroanvirus patients have already lost their lives in hospitals across the region.

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As such Ms Richards has 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 health care, key public services, education and shops.

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The free counselling, given by professionally-qualified, registered and experienced practitioners, will be offered online or by telephone.

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Ms Richards said: “The impact of Covid-19 on key workers and frontline workers has been immense.

“These workers face the personal challenge of long hours, stress, few breaks, distressed patients and unmet patient need.

“At first, you feel overwhelmed – you just don’t know what you can do.

“Then, I thought: ‘I have the skills. I know others like me – counsellors and therapists – are keen to help.’ The ‘what’ was Key Link.

“Key Link is here to help those who are helping us. This is our small gesture of thanks for their invaluable work.”

MORE: All of the coronavirus news in Suffolk

Annie Heining was one of the first counsellors to be recruited.

“I was so pleased when Sonia got in touch,” she said.

“We have a responsibility to care for those who are caring for us.”

For more information, visit the Key Link website.

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