The NHS has launched a package of wellbeing measures as part of a bid to support the health service’s 1.4 million staff as they work to tackle the coronavirus.
The measures include a free wellbeing support helpline, providing confidential listening from trained professionals and specialist advice, and a free, 24/7 text alternative. NHS staff can call 0300 131 7000, or text FRONTLINE to 85258, to receive help and advice from specially trained volunteers, for the pressures they now face daily.
The volunteers are there to listen to staff and give psychological support. Anyone needing further help will be directed to other services, such as practical and financial assistance, or specialist bereavement and psychological support
The phone line will be open between 7am and 11pm daily, while the text service will be 24/7. There are more than 1,500 volunteers who will be staffing the lines, from charities including Hospice UK, the Samaritans and Shout.
There is also online
peer-to-peer, team and personal resilience support, including through Silver Cloud
, and free mindfulness apps such as Unmind
, and Daylight
The NHS has partnered with Headspace, UnMind and Big Health to offer apps free of charge to support staff with their mental health. The apps offer support such as guided meditation, tools to deal with anxiety and help with sleep problems.
Prerana Issar, chief people officer for the NHS, said: “We need to do everything we can to support our incredible NHS people as they care for people through this global health emergency.
“That’s why we have developed a range of support for all NHS staff, from one to one mental health support to a sympathetic voice to confide in.
“The NHS is rightly doing everything we can for our staff, but the best thing the public can do for nurses, doctors and other NHS staff, is to protect them by staying indoors and washing your hands.”
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “We know our teams are providing tremendous support, not just to the patients they’re treating, but to each other, across the health service. It’s extremely heartening to see this kind of support will be available to NHS teams, via phone, text and online.
“As the pandemic continues, our people will face new and growing challenges on a daily basis, and it’s therefore more important than ever that they are able to access resources to help them manage their wellbeing, in a way that suits their needs.”
Visit NHS Employers’ COVID-19 page
for regularly updated guidance and support for the NHS workforce.