Case Study

Supporting staff resilience: Surrey and North East Hampshire

Providing valuable wellbeing support to NHS, social care and voluntary sector partners under increased stress during the pandemic.

27 January 2022


A staff resilience hub (now named Here for You) was established to provide valuable wellbeing support to NHS, social care and voluntary sector partners across Surrey and North East Hampshire, supporting staff who have been under increased stress during the pandemic. Focusing on supporting teams as well as individuals, Here for You Surrey is wanting to change the culture of the organisations involved, signalling that it is ok for staff to talk about the issues affecting their wellbeing. Additionally to bring greater integration of staff support services and occupational health across the system.

Key benefits and outcomes

  • Having a focus on working with teams has enabled them to reach a larger group of staff given our resources, to help reduce the stigma of mental health issues and to enable influence at multiple levels.
  • Staff are given the time and space to talk about issues affecting their wellbeing, and given tools to help cope with the additional pressures caused by the pandemic.
  • Managers feel more empowered to be able to support the wellbeing of their teams.
  • Indirect work through consultation to organisations and leaders around staff mental wellbeing is increasing awareness and supporting a shift in culture where it’s ok to talk about wellbeing.
  • Creating greater collaboration locally across the health and social care system
  • Almost 2,4000 staff have accessed the hub between January and December 2021.

The challenge

Key workers, including healthcare staff, were consistently reporting higher levels of depression and anxiety than non-key workers. In response, NHS England and NHS Improvement – the body that leads the NHS in England – commissioned 40 staff wellbeing and mental health hubs to help support NHS and social care staff who have been under increased stress during the pandemic. While ensuring that staff have access to support for their mental wellbeing is the right thing to do, it also benefits organisations and service-users.

The solution

Here for You wanted to address staff wellbeing at multiple levels – looking at the individual, the team and the organisation to instigate change. To achieve this, they put a particular focus on the needs of teams through offering bespoke team sessions, live workshops as well as individual support available to staff. They wanted to support those with existing difficulties as well as offering a preventative approach.

Here for You works with staff networks to understand the specific needs of certain staff groups, particularly those who may have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic. This includes staff with disabilities, staff with caring responsibilities and staff from a minority ethnic community.

The sessions are predominantly delivered virtually, but some are delivered face to face.

The aims of the workshops are:

  • to increase awareness among staff about the importance of wellbeing and of strategies that can support their wellbeing
  • to support those staff already experiencing mental distress
  • to address to stigma around mental health by encouraging conversations amongst staff in the workshop setting.

Other interventions that form part of our delivery include:

  • a Train the Trainer model to help embed wellbeing within organisations, by having a pool of people able to deliver training within their organisations
  • a specific intervention for managers, as they are crucial in addressing wellbeing in the workplace – managers cannot be expected to support the mental health of their team if they are also struggling themselves
  • offering a Reflective Space for teams impacted by a distressing event
  • a dedicated workshop to address ‘moral distress’, the feeling that staff were unable to ‘to do the right thing’ when performing their role, leaving staff feeling distressed
  • SHAPE coaching (Supporting Hospital and Paramedic Staff during and after covid, developed by Oxford University) for those staff who may be at risk of developing depression or PTSD
  • enhance and embed partnership working across the system, including between wellbeing leads, HR, occupational health, mental health providers and public health.

Results and benefits

The staff and teams who have used the service have been extremely positive about the service and have valued the accessible nature of this intervention. Between January and December 2021, 2,394 staff have accessed either for one-to-one support or have attended a workshop or a bespoke team session. Feedback from staff who accessed the service include:

“So valuable for me to have training from experts and the time to stop and really think about the risks, what to look out for in my staff and how I can best support.”

“Just talking about this important subject is helpful. In healthcare, pressures are so intense that clinicians and other staff (eg admin) rarely take time out to explore this.”

Overcoming obstacles

Ensuring that staff are aware of Here for You Surrey and how to access support was a key obstacle, alongside ensuring that staff were not confused where multiple wellbeing offers are available. This was addressed by widely and clearly promoting the service in a range of formats to ensure it covered the diverse range of staff and that staff were aware of our offer to teams. For example, staff working on a hospital ward preferred to receive posters that could be displayed with a QR code to enable easy access, as they spend little time on a laptop. For staff who work from home, electronic information was more useful.

Some partner organisations were also concerned that the service may conflict with their own wellbeing service. Through discussion and developing relationships with stakeholders across the local health and care system, they were reassured the hubs would complement their offer.

Future proofing

Additional staff would allow Here for You to increase the range and number of sessions it can offer to teams and possibly expand to more delivery face to face. This is important as more public services are returning to the office and many staff are based in a hospital or health care setting. Additional resource would allow the service to complete a more rigorous evaluation to understand more fully the needs of our local workforce.

It would also like to increase the diversity of its workforce so it can more fully represent the workforce it serves and ensure sessions with teams are culturally sensitive.

Here for You wishes to grow the Train the Trainer model as this is an efficient way of reaching many staff. It also wants to develop its work around support for people with long COVID, and specific support for staff impacted by the menopause

Takeaway tips

  • Working on supporting teams is an effective way to have significant impact at multiple levels and to influence organisational culture.
  • Make sure you are communicating the service in different formats, to reach as wide an audience as possible.
  • When it comes to the wellbeing of staff, managers play a huge role, and supporting managers to address their own wellbeing needs is crucial.
  • When designing effective models of support, work with staff networks to understand the needs of different staffing groups, for staff working in care homes or those in an acute hospital setting. Understanding the needs of vulnerable staff groups for example staff with disabilities, staff with caring responsibilities and staff from a minority ethnic community

Contact details

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