THE NHS will open 40 dedicated mental health support hubs for its staff across the country to offer free service and confidential advice.
Staff can access services over the phone with onward referral to online and one-to-one expert help from qualified mental health clinicians, therapists, recovery workers and psychologists, a statement said.
These hubs will proactively contact staff groups who are most at-risk to offer them support, it added.
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, and 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.”
The mental health and wellbeing hubs will be opened in places such as North East London, Bedfordshire, and Lancashire. They 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.
It has so far supported over 4,200 health and social care staff.
According to the NHS, mental health issues contributed to staff absence during the first wave of the pandemic, when a new helpline, a 24/7 text service, and free access to wellbeing apps were set up for the staff struggling with their wellbeing.
In October 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement invested an extra £15 million to strengthen mental health support for healthcare staff.
Prerana Issar, chief people officer for the NHS said: “We are committed to supporting all our NHS people’s health and well-being as we move through what has been an unprecedented year and that is why we have invested £15 million into dedicated mental health support for our staff.
“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. To all my NHS colleagues, it’s imperative that you reach out for support if you need it including using the range of resources available on our nhs.people.uk site.”