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Nurses in London are being offered access to a series of NHS-led wellbeing webinars, which aim to help health and care staff discuss the impact of Covid-19 on their mental health.
The online series, called Keeping Well for Health and Care Workers, is designed to help manage the emotional health and wellbeing of those working in health and care services.
“It’s important to know that it is normal and okay to feel upset, anxious or confused at times”
Developed by the Healthy London Partnership’s London digital Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, the initiative has been initially launched specifically for staff working in London.
However, those behind the move said the content was relevant nationally.
Taking place on Thursdays at 4pm, each 60-minute webinar offers participants the chance to explore ideas and tools to support mental health and wellbeing in a clinically led and interactive way, when joining live.
The sessions will also be recorded and available to view back on the dedicated resource page on Thrive LDN’s website. The first webinar of the series aired on 25 June and the second will be live on 2 July.
Key topics due to be explored in the webinars include preventing burnout, coping with stress and sleeping better.
This new offer of support comes after a Nursing Times survey found that 33% of respondents rated their overall mental health and wellbeing as “bad” or “very bad” and 50% described themselves as “a lot” more anxious or stressed since the pandemic.
The survey forms part of a campaign launched by Nursing Times 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.
As part of the webinar initiative, a separate series of sessions has also been launched for the general public in London to support anyone who is feeling anxious or worried about Covid-19 and how it is impacting them.
These sessions, called Coping Well During Covid, will take place on Tuesdays at 4pm for an hour and will discuss topics such as managing wellbeing, anxiety, low mood and sleeping difficulties.
Cognitive behavioural therapist, Emily Gardner, who is leading the webinar series, said: “Many people who live and work in London are feeling anxious about coronavirus and how it has impacted them, their loved ones, their work and their future.
“It’s important to know that it is normal and okay to feel upset, anxious or confused at times,” she noted.
“It has never been more important for each of us to think and talk more about mental health”
She reiterated that across both series, the webinars would “explore evidence-based ideas and tools to support emotional wellbeing and improve mood”.
“Those who join the live sessions are encouraged to ask questions and input comments into the chat function,” added Ms Gardner.
“We will take some time at different points of the webinar to respond to questions and comments, so that those joining get the most from each session.”
Meanwhile, Martin Machray, joint chief nurse at NHS England and Improvement London region, noted that the present situation represented “incredibly challenging times”.
“Some people will find it harder than others because of their health, where they live, their job, or the impact Covid-19 has had on their financial situation.
“Remember, whatever you are going through, there is support available and you are not alone,” he said.
He stressed that it “has never been more important for each of us to think and talk more about mental health and wellbeing, and to seek help when it is needed”.
“The webinars are an important addition to the range of resources and services available to support both the mental health and wellbeing of Londoners and our NHS and care workers,” added Mr Machray.
Dr Ruth Dennis, clinical psychologist at West London NHS Trust, who is supporting the development of the webinars highlighted that both series were “designed to be educational and supportive, and not a substitute for a mental health or psychological intervention for those who may need more urgent support”.
Alongside the webinar sessions, Dr Dennis encouraged staff and the public to seek support from their GP if they were still concerned about their mental health and required non-urgent help.