A pandemic isn't just a physical health issue: it's a mental health issue too

We have carefully selected the safest and most effective resources available to support your mental health and wellbeing. We encourage you to refer to these when you need them and practice self-care every day.

The Cheshire and Merseyside Resilience Hub (CMRH) is available to all NHS trust staff who live and/or work in Cheshire and Merseyside.

The aim of the hub is to ensure that any staff who feel that their wellbeing has been impacted by Covid-19 have access to the right support, wellbeing resources and psychological help to get them through the pandemic and beyond. The hub is a team of psychologists, therapists, pathways coordinators and support staff.

The hub is also able to offer support for NHS teams or organisations, such as offering psychological self-care workshops, reflective practice sessions, training, or help to identify and reach out to staff most at risk of distress due to the pandemic. NHS managers and leaders can self-refer for a team consultation via the website.

May Sarsam, consultant clinical psychologist and clinical lead for the hub recently appeared on Granada Reports talking about the importance of the services provided by the hub to those staff who have, and are struggling. 

The CMRH website has a wealth of self-help resources, information, support links and free wellbeing apps to support staff. It signposts users to the most applicable local psychological support service and supports staff to self-refer to the hub. Please visit: cheshiremerseyresiliencehub.nhs.uk

The starting point for exploring self-help tools is the Public Health England / NHS website Every Mind Matters which contains expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. This includes a personalised 'Your Mind Plan' with tailored advice to manage anxiety, low mood, stress and sleep during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Every Mind Matters website is frequently updated as new Covid-19 resources are tested and approved.

Our staff wellbeing hub has been developed by a passionate team of people from Clinical Psychology, Organisational Development and Occupational Health who will review and update content on an ongoing basis.

We all have evenings when we find it hard to fall asleep or we wake up in the night. You may also find this is happening more often during the coronavirus outbreak. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough. Find out more by visiting Every Mind Matters website.

Watch these short videos to help you:

Going home checklist - Just as you prepare mentally to start work, it's important that you also do the same at the end of your shift. This will help you to process the day and to help you to leave work at work. Reflect individually or do with your colleagues as part of an end of shift huddle. Feel free to print this poster as a helpful reminder.

Wellbeing action plans -  at this time, it's important to focus on your wellbeing needs as a team and to identify plans and approaches that work for you. Wellbeing action plans are a simple conversation resulting in a plan and ongoing review of the team's wellbeing needs. 

If you would like to develop an individual wellbeing action plan, the Every Mind Matters website has a great tool available. The personalised 'Your Mind Plan' takes you through a short questionnaire and provides you with tailored advice to manage anxiety, low mood, stress and sleep during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Check-in and check-out – there has never been a more important time to pull together and for effective team work. Teams need to communicate about tasks and check in with one and other to maintain positive relationships and colleague support mechanisms. This Check-in and Check-out guide is recommended as a guide to support this process. 

Personal reflection - It's really helpful to build reflective practice into your day, and the idea of journaling can help us to process our thoughts, and focus our minds.

At this time it is inevitable that some of us will sadly experience bereavement. 

If your team sadly experiences a colleague bereavement, additional support will be made available through this section of the website.In addition, a bereavement helpline is being piloted in the North West: 0800 2600 400 

NHS bereavement help line set up by Hospice UK

The number is 0300 303 4434 and is manned 8am-8pm, seven days a week, this telephone line is also open to family members.  

Self-help resources

All NHS staff can now directly access support from Silver Cloud who provide evidence-based self-help programmes for stress, sleep and resilience. Just use access code NHS2020 for NHS staff (and GMCA2020 for front line workers in Greater Manchester not directly employed by the NHS).

Below is a list of the most useful apps around to support you, try them and see what works for you and try your best to maintain this practice daily:

The Headspace app makes meditation simple. Learn the skills of mindfulness and meditation by using this app for just a few minutes per day. You gain access to hundreds of meditations on everything from stress and anxiety to sleep and focus. The app also has a handy "get some headspace" reminder to encourage you to keep practicing each day.
 

Calm provides people experiencing stress and anxiety with guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, and relaxing music. This app is truly universal; whether you've never tried meditation before or regularly practice, you'll find the perfect program for you.

 

Sleepio is a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) based programme which can be accessed via smartphone or web. It works by helping people to resolve their persistent sleep problems by discovering their ideal personal sleep pattern. 

 

Daylight is a CBT based programme and its focus is to assist people back to good mental health. Its main line of focus is on combating worry and anxiety. 

 

Happify - need a happy fix? With its psychologist-approved mood-training program, the Happify app is your fast-track to a good mood. Try various engaging games, activity suggestions, gratitude prompts and more to train your brain as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts.NHS staff have been given free access to a number of wellbeing apps from now until the end of December 2020 to support your mental health and wellbeing.

NHS support line for staff: Call 0300 131 7000 or text FRONTLINE to 85258 for support 24/7 via text to start a conversation. Calls are supported by a number of expert charities, including Samaritans, Shout and Hospice UK.Samaritans: Call 116 123 for free or www.samaritans.org 

Wellbeing check-ins – we are here to listen

During this time, it is vitally important that you look after your own mental wellbeing while you are caring for others. Wellbeing check-ins have been introduced in response to the Covid-19 situation; they provide a specific wellbeing supervision offering time to talk through what is on your mind, in your own way, with plenty of time – there will be no rush. We know that to look after others effectively, we first have to look after ourselves. Wellbeing check-ins are not therapy sessions and you do not have to be feeling totally stressed or wobbly in order to use them. Hopefully accessing this support can be a positive and constructive part of your own self-care plan. If you would like to access this service email wellbeinghub.psychology@merseycare.nhs.uk 

Further Reading and Resources