Since March, Associate Professor Luke Burchill, a clinician-scientist based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Cardiovascular Health Equity Group lead, has watched his colleagues at the hospital navigate a new reality responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and wondered what can be done to support the mental health of frontline workers at this time. So, he brought together clinicians, researchers, mental health experts and creatives, and started COVIDDA, a research collaboration.
Together they co-designed an app called Royal Melbourne Hive to serve as a safe space for frontline health workers to feel connected, informed and supported during the pandemic. It also allows them to undertake a self-check of their own mental health and wellbeing and, access mental health supports tailored to their needs.
Doctors, nurses, ward clerks and others shared their experiences of COVID-19. They spoke about connections with patients, families and colleagues. They also shared inspiring stories of people rising to the challenge and the importance of solidarity and teamwork.
Working with Phoenix Australia, the national centre of excellence for posttraumatic mental health, Associate Professor Burchill and his team also developed 40 short films providing mental coping strategies and practical tips for frontline health workers. These will be made available in the app, but a selection are already available to watch below.