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Covid-19: NHS launches mental health hotline service for staff

by Awil Mohamoud
8 April 2020

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All NHS staff will have access to a mental health hotline from Friday to help them deal with the pressures of fighting coronavirus. 

The free to call or text number will be manned by trained volunteers who will listen to concerns staff may have and provide psychological support and advice. 

The phone lines will be open between 7am and 11pm every day and the text service will be available 24/7. 

Staff who may need further help will be signposted to other services such as financial assistance and specialist bereavement support. 

The service will run with the help of 1,500 volunteers from various charities such as Hospice UK, the Samaritans and Shout.

The NHS has also partnered with mental health apps such as Unmind, Headspace and Big Health, which have all made their services free to NHS staff for the year. 

This comes as NHS workers have faced a surge in demand as the country approaches an epidemic peak. As well as long and arduous hours, staff have reported feeling unsafe due to a lack of PPE.

NHS Chief People Officer Prerana Issar 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.’

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer 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.

‘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.’

Last week, Management in Practice spoke with mental health expert and co-creator of NHS in Mind, Alex James, about steps for dealing with stress and mental fatigue.