Essential workers call for more support from the government

Nurse wearing protective gear, like mask and face shieldEssential workers feel more support is needed from the Government

A recent YouGov survey found that 60% of key workers feel as though their work is more appreciated now than before the pandemic. But many argue that there is still more to be done to support them.

Working during a pandemic has put a strain on key worker’s mental health, causing them to make calls for more mental health support.

Among those who say their mental health has been badly affected by the pandemic, 73% say they are feeling low, 62% are missing sleep and 63% report higher levels of anxiety than before the pandemic. 

Brogan Kettle, a Theatre Support Worker, says that more needs to be done to help key workers.

“It’s been different. Some things are harder because of the regulations in place. They are making sure we get the correct PPE and our jabs first, but they aren’t supporting workers with their mental health.

“It’s ok working and pushing us to the limit but there are some people that are working in the ICU and have never experienced it before. Their mental health is being badly affected by it.

“They need to do more about the after effects of it. They are going to lose a lot of staff. They already have lost a lot of staff so there needs to be more support in general.”

Lorraine Daly, a support worker for adults with learning disabilities, feels that she would have access to support if she was to need it.

“The company I work for has been really supportive. They’ve supported other staff who have been struggling.

“It’s not particularly effected me” says Lorraine Daly. “Everyone around me has been furloughed or has online school and college but my work doesn’t seem to have changed. I’m working the same shifts, the same hours and my work is still ongoing.”

There are also calls to increase essential workers pay because of their efforts during the Coronavirus crisis.

A recent survey found that 33% of key workers earn £10 or less an hour and an RSA analysis found that 37% of social carers earn less than the current Real Living Wage.

The Scottish Government has recently announced that all key workers paid under £25,000 a year will get a 3% pay rise. Whilst Chancellor Rishi Sunak stated in November that 1.3 million public sector workers would get a pay freeze.

Although extra pay would be helpful, some key workers think that more support during these tough times would be more beneficial.

“It would just be more support in general, not so much extra pay, but support for after everything is over and a bit more advice to know what is going on and how to cope with it,” said Brogan Kettle.

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