A mental health charity has upped its support for health workers with a new service offering 10,000 hours of free resources for those working during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Laura Hyde Foundation launched the material during Mental Health Awareness Week to provide additional support amid increasing signs of mental ill health in the workforce.
“I strongly urge anyone who needs help to use the service now”
Since the outbreak started, the charity has seen an 88% increase in calls to its helpline with concerns raised about a lack of fit-for-purpose support available.
The resources include the phoneline which provides counselling support, access to educational videos and other material to help them manage their mental health, and one-to-one wellbeing sessions from clinically trained professionals.
The service takes on a three-tiered approach: the first allows access to self-help materials, the second allows users to book free sessions and the third offers advice from a more specialist practitioner.
The announcement comes as part of the Laura Hyde Foundation’s new No Mask for Mental Health initiative.
Liam Barnes, chairman of the foundation, said: “Doctors, nurses and healthcare support staff are working around the clock and beyond normal shift patterns to treat the critically ill, at an unknown cost to their physical health and mental health.
“This new service aims to address those problems at a time when the mental wellbeing of tens of thousands of people are at risk.
“I strongly urge anyone who needs help to use the service now.”
The service is clinically supervised and staffed by volunteers with coaching and mental health backgrounds.
It has been approved by the NHS and is independent from trusts to ensure confidentiality for those who use it.
Mr Barnes added: “Were concerned about the other services currently on offer to emergency workers.
“Very early on we identified a need to add extra mental health support capacity into the system”
“Although well-intentioned, many are staffed by public volunteers who through no fault of their own do not possess the clinical skillset to properly engage with an emergency service worker who will often present with specialised needs.
“Not having the correct people in place is dangerous and not what care workers deserve.”
The service was developed in conjunction with Project5, a non-profit company that provides online booking for clinical services.
Dr Craig Newman, clinical psychologist and team leader at Project5, said: “Very early on we identified a need to add extra mental health support capacity into the system and so we set about designing a service that could do that.”
He added that a strict governance model was in place to make sure all service staff were properly trained.
Emerging evidence and reports suggest that metal ill health is prevalent in health workers on the coronavirus frontline.
A recent survey from Nursing Times found that 33% of respondents rated their overall mental health and wellbeing as “bad” or “very bad”.
The majority (87%) rated themselves as either “a lot” or “a little” more stressed at work than usual, while 90% said they were “a lot” or “a little” more anxious than before the outbreak.
Nursing Times has launched a campaign called Covid-19: Are You Ok? to highlight the mental health needs of nurses on the frontline and to lobby for immediate and long-lasting support.
More on the Covid-19: Are You OK? campaign