More health and care staff affected by Covid-19 to benefit from support

Hundreds more health and care staff affected by Covid-19 across Greater Manchester are to benefit from specialist psychological support. 

The Greater Manchester Resilience Hub is extending its Covid-19 psychological and emotional wellbeing support to hundreds more health and care staff and their families who work and/or live in the region - including Tameside and Oldham. 

The service, which is supported and funded by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, was set up in April this year in response to the pandemic and is part of a range of wellbeing and mental health services available to health and care staff. 

Between April and August, 224 frontline health and care workers accessed support with the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub. 

Helen Lambert, service lead at the Resilience Hub, said: "For the first six months we have provided targeted psychological support to frontline staff across the NHS, adult social care and emergency services who have cared for people with Covid-19.

“As the pandemic continues we recognise that there are thousands of other health and care workers who may not have been on the frontline caring for patients; but have experienced stressful or traumatic events whether at work or at home. Expanding our service to all health and care workers, and their family members, means that staff who are feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed can get the help they need." 

The Resilience Hub offers a confidential wellbeing questionnaire which can be completed online or over the phone. Everyone who completes the questionnaire will have access to speak to one of the Resilience Hub's qualified NHS mental health professionals.

Dr Alan Barrett, clinical psychologist and clinical lead for adults at the Resilience Hub, added: “People are contacting us on a range of issues such as increased workloads, redeployment concerns, home schooling, financial impacts and bereavement. We’ve also had people speaking to us about the impact on their family and managers needing a little more guidance to ensure they are doing the right things for their teams.

“Some staff are reporting fatigue, stress, anger and guilt. For others, the experience, although challenging, has presented opportunities for personal and professional growth. There is a lot of support available but navigating it can be challenging. Our team can help guide people to the right resources and into the right support for them.”

Yvette Hodge (pictured), an occupational therapist assistant for Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, contracted Covid-19 in April at the height of the pandemic’s first wave.

Yvette, who lives with her husband and elderly parents, has explained the impact of Covid on her mental health and how the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub has supported her.

“I was off work for five weeks due to Covid," she said. "Not only was I recovering from the physical side of the disease but it was an extremely stressful time. My husband contracted covid too so we had to protect my parents who lived with me – particularly my dad who has dementia and is diabetic. Fortunately we were able to live separately in the house and my parents didn’t contract the disease.

"I returned to work slowly but I was still worried about my parents catching the disease and I felt guilty being at work and not being there to help them. Everything in our lives had changed, I didn’t feel the same and I couldn’t do the usual things in my life that helped me relax and unwind, such as going to Pilates. I knew things weren’t right and I was also starting to drink more alcohol during the week." 

She continued: "I contacted the Resilience Hub and completed their wellbeing questionnaire. One of their therapists then contacted me and I just poured everything out to them – all my anxieties and worries.

"They really have been amazing – we developed a plan to help me and to give more structure to my life. They encouraged me to speak to my manager about condensing my hours so I have more time at home now. I’ve also been using an app called Daylio. Every day it prompts you to think about how you feel and your plans for the day by setting yourself goals.

"The support and advice has really worked for me – I’m able to think about the here and now and take things step by step; rather than letting things overwhelm me. I feel able to look after myself which means I can also look after my mum and dad.”

The service will be available to all clinical, domestic, administrative and corporate staff working in hospitals, the community, primary care and North West Ambulance Service (including those working outside Greater Manchester); care home and social care staff; as well as health and care staff working for community and voluntary social enterprise organisations in Greater Manchester.

People can get more information, advice and support by visiting penninecare.nhs.uk/mcrhub-covid19, calling 03330 095 071 or emailing gm.help@nhs.net.

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