Staff and volunteers at the forefront of the Covid-19 response across England will be able to access a free psychological first aid training course from the beginning of this week.
The online course, designed by Public Health England (PHE), enables responders to develop their skills in providing key psychological support to people affected by coronavirus, including on issues such as job worries, bereavement or isolation.
It also aims to develop understanding of how emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic can affect us all, how to recognise people who may be at increased risk of distress, and how to offer practical and emotional support.
Minister for mental health Nadine Dorries said the course will help workers and volunteers ‘to support those most in need both through the coronavirus outbreak and beyond, equipping them with vital tools to deliver psychological first aid’.
NHS England national mental health director Claire Murdoch urged ‘anyone with concerns about their mental health to come forward’ to a colleague, occupational health team or the mental health helpline launched in April.
Ms Murdoch continued: ‘NHS staff have been working around the clock in the face of the biggest challenge our health service has ever faced, which is why it’s so important that staff are properly supported with their mental health.’
Psychological first aid is the globally recommended training for supporting people during and in the immediate aftermath of emergencies.
The PHE course takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. There are three parts which can be done in intervals or all in one go.