Grief Project Lecture
In this talk, Matthew will focus on a particular kind of emotional impact of the pandemic, namely the phenomenology of the experience of moral injury in healthcare professionals. Drawing on Weber’s reflections in his lecture Politics as a Vocation and data from the Experiences of Social Distancing during the COVID-19 Pandemic Survey, we will analyse responses from healthcare professionals which show the experiences of burnout, loss, grief, sense of frustration and impotence, and how these affect clinicians’ emotional state. We argue that this may relate to the ethical conflicts they experience when they are forced to make clinical decisions where there are no optimal outcomes, and how in turn that impacts on their own emotional state. We will further examine the notion of ‘burnout’ and the phenomenology of ‘moral injury’, and how for certain areas of clinical practice, for example psychiatry and mental health care, (where, for example, coercion is employed, or where service provision is routinely suboptimal), moral injury and the phenomenological emotional changes may be independent of the pandemic.
About the speaker
Professor Matthew Broome is Chair in Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health and Director of the Institute for Mental Health at the University of Birmingham. He is a widely-published academic psychiatrist interested in the onset of mental disorders in young people. He has worked largely in the area of early psychosis, but is also interested in mood instability, autism, and in suicide and self-harm. His work has utilised functional neuroimaging, cognitive neuropsychology and epidemiology in his research and he has also worked in the philosophy and ethics of mental health.