Junior doctor spearheads letters campaign
A junior doctor is behind a new campaign to encourage community members to show their appreciation directly to health care workers across Sydney Local Heath District, particularly during COVID-19.
Psychiatry registrar Dr Lisa Pryor was inspired to devise Letters for the Front after reading that more than 12 million letters a week were sent to soldiers on the front lines to boost their morale during World War One.
“Across our District, we have more than 12,000 staff including doctors, nurses, cleaners, security officers, administrators, and managers all working to fight COVID-19 the best we possibly can,” Dr Pryor said.
“Everyone in our health system is incredibly busy and that means they don’t necessarily have the time to jump on social media or read the newspaper and see all the community support that’s out there.
“That’s why we wanted to bring that support inside the hospital,” she said.
Now, community members can use an online messaging portal to communicate directly to health care workers at Balmain, Canterbury, Concord, Royal Prince Alfred, and Sydney Dental hospitals.
Messages can also be sent to teams at the District’s Community Health Centres, clinics and services.
It is hoped the project will become a national movement.
The project has been supported by the District’s Chief Medical Wellness Officer, Dr Bethan Richards, the MDOK team and the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health.
“The aim of Letters for the Front is to boost the morale and wellbeing of health care workers, foster community spirit and create a sense of unity during COVID-19 and beyond.
“Whether it is a few kind words, a picture, or even a video, your messages of support will be delivered to those on the front line to help boost morale and reduce burnout during this difficult time,” Dr Richards said.
Sending a message of support may also result in other positive health outcomes.
“Practicing gratitude and appreciation for others has also been shown to have a positive effect on your own mental health and wellbeing,” Jennifer Taylor, Network Manager at the Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, said.
The messages will also be displayed publicly across the District’s hospitals and Community Health Centres.
Kylie Orr was moved to write after seeing her GP sister-in-law working “long, difficult hours” in a COVID-19 testing clinic.
“You have families and lives, too. You have worries and fears, too. You have frustrations and anger, too. You have tired feet and aching hearts as cases grow. We know you are working to capacity and fearing what the virus will mean for your workplace, for your colleagues, for your patients and for your loved ones.
“We thank you for all you do. For your commitment, expertise, and compassion. It does not go unnoticed. Keep up the good fight and we’ll see you on the other side (when hugs are allowed again),” she wrote.
Messages of support can be sent electronically via https://bit.ly/Lettersforthefront
Or via mail to: LettersfortheFront Team, WellMD Centre, Level 4 QEII Building, RPAH, 59 Missenden Rd, Camperdown. NSW 2050.
To view messages of support visit the Letters for the Front facebook page www.facebook.com/lettersforthefront