Supporting your mental health, and that of your family and friends
We understand that this is an ongoing situation, likely to last for several months, and we are here to support you.
The charity Mind has published a range of advice and support for people in relation to COVID-19, including on wellbeing, advice if you or someone you know needs to ‘self-isolate’, and for anyone who may be feeling anxious. It is available on the Mind website. For British Psychological Society advice on how to talk to children about coronavirus, see below.
As ever, the usual support from occupational health and our 24-hour employee assistance programme remains available to all: Helpdesk number: 0345 643 4368
Talking to children
We know that children and young people may be anxious about the situation at present. The British Psychological Society (BPS) says it is vital to talk openly to children and reassure them about the changes they are seeing around them due to coronavirus. This is really helpful guidance to support these conversations: https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/bps-highlights-importance-talking-children-about-coronavirus.
New dedicated staff wellbeing team
A dedicated staff wellbeing team has been set up to support staff during this uncertain period. The team will be responsible for the following areas:
- Undertaking wellbeing checks with those staff off sick due to COVID-19 symptoms/diagnosis. These telephone checks will focus on ensuring you have the support you need. They will also link with relatives or carers if colleagues require a higher level of care. Wellbeing checks are also being done for those staff shielding
- Acting as an advisory service for staff and line managers
- Ensuring that occupational health, counselling and employee assistance (EAP) services are available to staff and escalate any referrals to psychological support as required. This includes access to talking therapies, team clinical health psychology/psychotherapy support and direct referral to clinical psychologist consultants
- Provides a wellbeing/pastoral resource on the ground to colleagues where required, including emotional wellbeing team support, reflective and virtual team sessions
- Meets the needs of our frontline colleagues in regards to food, refreshment, accommodation, transport, childcare etc
- Provides updated information on resources to support staff wellbeing
- Looking at staff supportive measures e.g. refreshment, accommodation, childcare etc
A dedicated email and support line has been set up and is now open 7-days-a-week from 09:00 to 17:00. Please contact the team at email@example.com or on 0300 555 1066. Please see our staff wellbeing support poster for further details.
Further support is available on the NHS website.
24-hour counselling helpline
We have a 24-hour counselling helpline which is available to all staff and families via the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) available 24/7 via telephone, this service can provide immediate advice and support, including information and practical support in relation to stress, anxiety and health.
Tel: 0800 014 2382.
Trust chaplaincy service and faith groups
The Trust chaplaincy service and faith groups are here for you and support and can be accessed via Paul McNamara on 07713 709428 or 0300 555 1077.
Advice on health during Ramadan
Ramadan is a month where believers learn to exercise self-control. A major facet of this is the abstinence from food and drink that is prescribed to all healthy Muslims during the hours of sunrise to sunset. The sick are exempt but sometimes like to continue to fast and therefore abstain not only from eating and drinking water but also from consuming oral medications and intravenous nutritional fluids.
This year will be very different for staff who are Muslim and observe fasting during Ramadan, as traditionally communal activities and prayer are observed and encouraged. Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, access to prayer facilities, quiet rooms and multi faith rooms internally and externally have been largely suspended. These restrictions may have a negative impact on staff wellbeing during an already difficult period. Line managers should encourage staff to talk to their local chaplaincy team for support.
Accommodating religious belief and practices during Ramadan is about being responsive to employees‘ needs. It does not necessarily mean extra time off, it is about offering flexibility around existing holiday entitlement, working patterns or break periods. Unlike previous years, this may prove more challenging if resources are reduced due to staff absence from self-isolation and illness.
Similarly, staff should also be aware of the health issues related to fasting, so that they are able to make more informed choices, minimise complications and maximise the benefit of their fast as well as operational effectiveness. Those who are ill with COVID-19 won't be able to take part in daily fasting, as fasting is not compulsory, or advisable for anyone who is ill or has a medical condition.
Talking to our Talking Therapies teams
In response to COVID-19, we have a new support system available where you can speak with members of the Talking Therapies teams across NELFT. They are here to support you with your emotional wellbeing during this time, and can signpost you to relevant resources.
You can contact them by chat, phone or video call directly, between 08:00 to 20:00 by going to: https://www.talkingtherapies.nelft.nhs.uk/nelft-staff-support.
There are also a variety of online CBT programmes available to staff through SilverCloud which can also be accessed through the Talking Therapies link. These include topics on:
Physical workout sessions
Physical activity/workout sessions are also available through Talking Therapies. These are on set dates/times, please click the link for more details.
Emotional support for teams
Teams will be able to access reflective team sessions to support them with the emotional challenges of working in the current pandemic. This support can be delivered on site or virtually using zoom by agreement with staff. This support can be accessed by contacting the wellbeing team as follows:
Phone: 0300 555 1066
Team Reflective Sessions
Team reflective sessions are an opportunity for the team as a whole to come together to talk to one another about their experience of their work, particularly the emotional impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to provide an opportunity for staff to talk, share and explore feelings and reactions. The sessions will help reduce the level of anxiety and trauma in the staff team and help to keep the team thinking and co-operating in their shared tasks.
The approach of the person leading the reflective practice session will be responsive, warm and non-judgemental, helping staff to have ordinary conversations about extraordinary events. Depending on the needs of the team a range of interventions can be delivered such as mindfulness or relaxation.
Sessions will be led by a member of the NELFT Psychotherapy of Psychology team
Sessions can range in time from 30 minutes to up to an hour by prior agreement. Sessions can be held weekly or at agreed frequency and period of time.
Confidentiality and record keeping:
Information shared in the reflective sessions are confidential unless there is risk to self or others. The only information that will be held on file is:
- Date and time of session
- Name of team and therapist
- Number of attendees
Mode of delivery:
Team sessions can be delivered on-site in person or on-line – via zoom or Microsoft team.
Accessing team support:
To access team support, send your email request to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 555 1066.
Family members of staff can access support from local charity and volunteer organisations. Below are some organisations that may be able to offer support.
The Cruse Bereavement Care Freephone National Helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers, who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement.
City & East London Bereavement Service
NHS Wellbeing Support - Samaritans
Operated by the Samaritans and free to access from 07:00 to 23:00, 7-days-a week. You can call for support, signposting and confidential listening.
Tel: 0300 131 700
Text: FRONTLINE to 85258 for support 24/7
Access to Work Mental Health Support Service - Remploy
Remploy have set up a support service for all NHS staff, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions to offer support during this difficult time. The service is available at no charge to anyone with depression, anxiety, stress or other mental health issues affecting their work.
Completely confidential, this service provides:
- Tailored work-focused mental health support for nine months (currently delivered remotely)
- Suitable coping strategies
- A support plan
- Advice on workplace adjustments at home, in an office, or other place of work
- Practical advice and support
Headspace - free for NHS staff
Headspace is giving NHS staff free membership to the app until 31 December 2020.
Headspace is a science-backed app in mindfulness and meditation, providing unique tools and resources to help reduce stress, build resilience, and aid better sleep.
How staff can get access:
- Go to https://www.headspace.com/nhs for NHS staff to access, with the option to select clinical or non-clinical staff to start enrolling
- You will need to use your NHS email address to sign up
e-learning: Psychological Wellbeing in Healthcare Workers in response to COVID-19
You can access it here: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/toolkits/play_22794.
Supporting the wellbeing of NHS staff and students will be critical during the pandemic - psychological impacts will undoubtedly occur and may be long-lasting so we are keen to do anything to help with this.
This package is relevant to all healthcare staff and healthcare students. It contains information, advice and tips from experts in the field and signposting around:
- Psychologically safe work environments
- Social stigma
- Accessing social support
- Self-care strategies
- Rest, shift-work and sleep
- Managing emotions during the pandemic
If any staff need support or need someone to speak to during this difficult time, than you can email the staff network directly, leaving a contact number for the ambassadors to give you a call.
Staff diagnosed with Coronavirus
The wellbeing team will make contact with all staff diagnosed with coronavirus on a regular basis. Should a staff member be admitted to hospital, a member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team (EDI) will make contact with the staff member's family.
EDI will provide the family with support and act as a direct liaison with the family. The EDI team will provide regular updates to the wellbeing team who will link in with other relevant teams to establish if any additional support is required.