NHS staff who have ‘pushed their minds and bodies to the limit’ during the Covid-19 pandemic will be offered mental health support.
NHS England said staff will be able to access evidence-based mental health services at one of 40 hubs across the country.
The services will be available over the phone with onward referral to online and one-to-one expert help from qualified mental health clinicians, therapists, recovery workers and psychologists.
The hubs are free of charge and offer confidential advice and support to NHS staff who for the last year have cared for millions of people with coronavirus while keeping vital services like maternity, mental health and cancer care going.
NHS staff will be encouraged to reach out directly for help, but hubs will proactively contact staff groups who are most at-risk to offer them support so they get the care they need as quickly as possible.
The NHS’ national mental health director, Claire Murdoch, said: ‘NHS staff are used to dealing with the extremes of life on a daily basis, but this year has been exceptional.
‘And in what is likely to be the toughest year in their career, staff have put their minds and bodies to the limit treating hundreds of thousands of seriously ill-patients with Covid-19.
‘So it is vital that the people that played such a big role getting this country through the pandemic are given additional support.
‘I would urge anyone working in the NHS whether you are a porter, a nurse, paramedic or other role to please ask for help from one of our 40 mental health support hubs as they open over the coming weeks.’
Mental health and wellbeing hubs are starting to open across the country in places such as North East London, Bedfordshire, and Lancashire.
The hubs have been modelled on the success of The Greater Manchester Resilience Hub which was set up to treat all those affected by the Manchester terrorist attack in 2017, including NHS staff.
The Manchester hub has also been helping NHS staff working during the pandemic and has so far supported over 4,200 health and social care staff including occupational therapist assistant.
Yvette Hodge, who works at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said she struggled with the pressure of the pandemic and the worry she may be putting her elderly parents who she lives with at greater risk.
‘I was worried about my parents catching the disease and I felt guilty being at work and not being there to help them. Everything in our lives had changed, I didn’t feel the same and I couldn’t do the usual things in my life that helped me relax and unwind.
‘I contacted the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub and spoke to one of their therapists and I just poured everything out to them – all my anxieties and worries – they really have been amazing and we developed a plan to help give more structure to my life.’
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