Suffolk artist captures mental toll of pandemic on NHS staff in painting of Cambridge doctor

Click here to watch a report by ITV Anglia's Natalie Gray

An artist from Suffolk has captured the mental toll of the pandemic on NHS staff in an oil painting.

The portrait shows Dr Andrew Johnston who works at the ICU at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

It was painted by Heath Rosselli, who lives near Mildenhall.

Heath Rosselli

Rosselli says the 'haunting' portrait tells a thousand frontline stories one year on from the start of the pandemic.

The portrait, entitled 'Doctor J', is from the perspective of a patient on a ventilator.

It's hoped the painting will encourage frontline workers to reflect on and talk about the mental impact of the past year, and reach out for support if they need it through 'Our Frontline', an initiative which offers round the clock mental health support.

The painting captures the face of an ICU doctor from Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Rosselli's previous work has been exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery and The Louvre. As the pandemic unfolded, she worked on the 'Doctor J' portrait between commissions.

A recent survey has shown that nearly half of doctors and nurses on ICU wards have experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression.

Our Frontline, a joint initiative from Mind, Samaritans, Shout 85258, Hospice UK and The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has also reported a five-fold increase in web visits over recent weeks.

Recent research shows that nearly 1/2 of doctors and nurses on ICU wards have experienced symptoms of PTSD, anxiety or depression. Credit: ITV Anglia

A Samaritans volunteer added:

"We are hearing from health care workers who feel overwhelmed and exhausted by their experiences on the frontline. As the pandemic continues on, they must remember to take care of their own wellbeing and talk about how they are feeling. It's vital that our health care workers reach out for help if they are struggling and know they can find the support they need through Our Frontline."

'Our Frontline' offers round the clock mental health support. Credit: Our Frontline

The painting will now be displayed in hospitals across the UK.

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