NHS England is launching mental health hubs to help staff who have ‘pushed their last minds and body to the limit’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Staff will be able to access mental health services at one of 40 hubs opening across the country over the next few weeks in places such as North East London, Bedfordshire and Lancashire.
NHS staff will be encouraged to reach out directly for help but the hubs will also contact the most at-risk staff groups to offer support.
They will receive advice and be referred for support from psychologists, mental health nurses, therapists and recovery workers.
Claire Murdoch, NHS national mental health director, said: ‘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.’
The centres have been modelled on The Greater Manchester Resilience Hub, which was set up to treat all those affected by the Manchester terrorist attack in 2017. The Manchester hub has also supported over 4,200 health and social care staff during the pandemic.
In October 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement invested an extra £15 million to strengthen mental health support for healthcare staff.
A helpline, 24/7 text service and free access to wellbeing apps were set up for NHS staff struggling with their wellbeing at the beginning of the pandemic.
RCN England director Mike Adams said more services like this are needed, alongside investment in the nursing workforce.
He explained: ‘We entered this crisis with nearly 40,000 nursing vacancies in the NHS in England alone and the last year has further highlighted the impact this has on our members’ ability to deliver safe and effective care, and their own wellbeing.’
Prerana Issar, chief people officer for the NHS, said: ‘Through these 40 mental health and wellbeing hubs our staff will be able to get access to specialist psychological support, alongside a package of support for all our senior leaders so every person working in the NHS knows where to turn if they need support.’