Accepting gratitude from others Written by Clare Jackson, division E psychologist currently working on PICU

Following on from the message about gratitude, which looked at ways we can notice and attend to the things we are grateful for, it seems pertinent for last week’s ‘anniversary’ to think about our responses to others expressing their gratitude for us, healthcare workers. We will all have slightly different responses to the outpouring of public gratitude directed at healthcare workers; for most it is probably welcome, but many also seem to put in caveats… ‘that’s nice, but I’m just doing my job’, or ‘thanks, but I’m not really frontline like others are’, or ‘others have managed things far better than me’.

As we reflect, we perhaps need to resist and challenge some of the thoughts of ‘there’s so much I could have done better’, ‘others managed all this better than me’ or ‘I didn’t have it as bad as others’. Nobody really knew what to expect this time last year, there was so much uncertainty and so many had to change roles, or adapt within their existing role.

We have all done our best in extraordinary circumstances and are deserving of the gratitude of others.  In Leeds, there is a project called We Still See You, founded last year to thank NHS workers and to fund therapy sessions for frontline staff suffering with mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. It has designed posters that are on big billboards across the city, to show keyworkers they still see them, appreciate their efforts and understand how much pressure they are under. There are some great messages (see below) that serve as a reminder for us all.