A regional hub has been launched to support health and care staff across the North East and North Cumbria to cope with the immense pressures of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The purpose of this ‘hub’ is to help health and care staff – including NHS, social care, and care home staff – get support for their mental and physical wellbeing when they need it. The aim is to ensure that every individual can easily, quickly and confidentially access the best advice, support and, if needed, treatment for their needs.
The hub’s flagship offer is a confidential advice and support helpline staffed by highly skilled NHS psychological practitioners from Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, a leading provider of mental health services in the region.
Health and care staff can call the helpline on 0191 223 2030, seven days a week (including Bank Holidays) from 7am-9pm. Therapists are available between 12-6pm Monday to Friday; if you call outside these hours and need to speak to a therapist, helpline staff will arrange for a therapist to call you back at the soonest suitable time.
The project is led by the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (NENC ICS) Mental Health and Workforce Programmes, which recently secured funding from NHS England to progress with this staff support and wellbeing resilience hub.
John Lawlor, Chief Executive at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, who leads the NENC ICS mental health programme, said: “Every one of us in the health and care system has been affected by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this incredibly difficult time, our health and care staff continue to provide the highest standards of care to the people in our communities, and it’s vital that we look after them while they care for others.
“We know that there’s lots of support on offer from various places, but we’ve heard that it can sometimes be challenging for staff to navigate this when they are under pressure and need help fast. This hub will work with each individual to quickly, confidentially link them up with the advice and support they need.
“This funding from NHS England provides us with an opportunity to enhance the existing national and local support on offer to these staff, improve the resilience of teams, and crucially help to keep our staff well and able to continue their fantastic work across the health and care system.”
Some of the other things that the Hub offers are:
- An online Wellbeing Diary, to help staff track their mood and understand what helps them stay well;
- Support and coaching for managers to help the look after their team;
- Group support, such as ‘Balint Groups’, for clinicians and teams;
- Free webinars to help staff understand and adapt to what they are going through;
- Active outreach, offering support to staff groups whose physical and emotional wellbeing is identified to be most at-risk;
- Provision of assessments and evidence-based therapies/treatments;
- Promotion of initiatives that aim to maintain staff’s wellbeing and resilience, to prevent their wellbeing worsening or experiencing a crisis.
The hub launched on 4 January, and will be working closely with partner organisations across the region to develop a ‘hub and spoke’ approach to supporting staff’s wellbeing in the workplace over the next few weeks.