Support others and protect your own mental health in Covid-19 outbreak
Nobel laureate Peter Medawar wrote that a virus was ‘a piece of nucleic acid surrounded by bad news’ and Covid-19 has brought its fair share of bad news.
The increased demand on our health services, along with uncertainty in society, have brought with them significant stress and anxiety. Therefore, it is very important, whilst continuing to provide the best standards of care and taking precautions to protect ourselves, that we look after our mental health.
Stress is a normal part of life and the healthiest way to deal with stress is to acknowledge it and seek support. Stress is not a sign of weakness, or that you are not doing a good job. If you are struggling to cope, speak to your team and management and support each other through this difficult time.
- Use and promote any support facilities available
- Maximise any down time you have and use it to recharge
- Avoid unhealthy coping strategies such as alcohol
- Make sure you get enough rest
- Continue to eat healthily
- Keep well hydrated and exercise where and when possible
It is important to stay informed. Keep an eye on advice from your employer and the SCoR to ensure that you are keeping up to date with information designed to keep you safe.
Constant news updates throughout the day can be distracting and upsetting, so consider turning off push notifications and accessing reliable sources at a single time during the day when you are least likely to be distracted or concerned by other matters.
If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, take yourself away and do something which you find relaxing.
Use digital communication and social media to stay connected with friends and family.
Try not to make assumptions or judgments about anyone who contracts the virus. Be supportive of those around you, especially the vulnerable and those who may be worried about it.
Above all else, acknowledge your feelings and take care of each other.
UK Council member for Scotland
Resources and support
NHS mental health and wellbeing hotline to support and advise healthcare staff includes volunteers from charities including Hospice UK, the Samaritans and Shout, who will listen to concerns and offer psychological support. The phone line is open between 7am and 11pm every day, while the text service is available 24 hours. The phone number is 0300 131 7000, or text FRONTLINE to 85258.
SoR Tips on Reducing Anxiety Poster- Download the breakroom and noticeboard poster for staff members
SoR Tips on Managing Stress Poster - Download the breakroom and noticeboard poster for staff members, asking the question 'How are you feeling?'
National NHS wellbeing support
The NHS nationally and locally has developed a range of wellbeing support to care for and protect all NHS people, whether at the frontline or in supporting services. All NHS staff now have access to a range of support through one point of contact:
- A free wellbeing support helpline 0300 131 7000, available from 7am - 11pm seven days a week, providing confidential listening from trained professionals and specialist advice, including coaching, bereavement care, mental health and financial help
- A 24/7 text alternative to the above helpline - text FRONTLINE to 85258
- Online peer-to-peer, team and personal resilience support, including through Silver Cloud, and free mindfulness apps including Unmind, Headspace Sleepio and Daylight
Compassion starts with me: wellbeing resources, toolkits and guidance for managers and staff from across Wales. (Added 1 April 2020)
Support The Workers: A rapid training and education programme for frontline workers using the most up to date behavioural and psychological science. Input from world leading experts in disaster response, crisis psychology and human performance under conditions of extreme stress. Includes a series of rapid-read one-page briefing notes with practical recommendations on key topics such as extreme stressors, anxiety and fear, leadership, multi-agency teams, and team dynamics.
Health, safety and wellbeing by NHS Employers
Wellbeing apps: NHS staff have been given free access to wellbeing apps such as Headspace, Unmind, Sleepio, and Daylight
Coronavirus and your wellbeing: MIND for better mental health
#Caring4NHSPeople Wellbeing webinars: Do you have a role in workforce, occupational health, organisational development, leadership, trade union support or other area that is supporting the wellbeing of our NHS people during and following the Covid-19 response? You canjoin NHS England and Improvement’s weekly virtual sessions, every wednesday between 4-5pm.