Heroic image of medical staff can cause harm | Letters

  The Guardian 

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The psychological impact of working as a doctor is often overlooked, writes Dr Sophie Behrman, and the talk of heroes exacerbates this problem, while Prof Andrew Cooper is concerned about the needs of exhausted social care staff * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverage I was very pleased to read Clare Gerada’s article (‘Psychological PPE’ is what Britain’s health professionals urgently need now , 16 October). If the last wave was one in which doctors were seen as heroes going into battle, I hope that this wave will paint them in a more compassionate light. As a psychiatrist I have seen numerous medical colleagues suffering “moral injury”; we even jokingly wondered if feeling “guilty” was a symptom of Covid infection early in the pandemic. Moral injury is heightened when the sufferer feels that they should be an omnipotent hero. Heroes may find it hard to admit that things are hard; they may decline “psychological PPE” to maintain their self-image of a hero, u

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