40 mental health 'hubs' open to support frontline NHS staff
Mental health 'hubs' across the country will support frontline NHS workers dealing with the psychological impact of the pandemic.
Announced by NHS chief executive Simon Stevens, the hubs will offer both online and in-person support services for staff, including access to psychologists and mental health therapists.
The hubs are based on the Greater Manchester Resilience Hub which was set up to provide support to people affected by the Manchester terror attack in 2017.
Some hubs have already opened in North East London, Bedfordshire and Lancashire, with staff considered to be in greatest need of support being directly contacted by their local hub.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The House, Stevens said that one of the lasting legacies of the COVID-19 pandemic is the "brilliance and dedication of NHS staff" who have so far provided care for just over 430,000 people hospitalised with the virus nationwide.
"Having just gone through the worst pandemic in a century, and the most intense operation pressure in the 72-year history of the NHS, it's quite right that staff are feeling...under significant stress and pressure," says Stevens.
Frontline workers have also played a key role in the initial rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, with over 17 million people having received their first jab so far.
The rollout is one of the fastest vaccination programmes worldwide and aims to offer the first jab to a further 17 million people by the end of April.
Read more: Almost half of ICU staff are likely dealing with mental health issues as a result of the pandemic
The pressures of the pandemic have been felt in full force by frontline workers who have had to continue to work as required in the face of potential exposure to the virus.
Last month, research from King's College London highlighted the issue, suggesting that 45% of intensive care staff met the threshold for at least one of severe depression, PTSD, severe anxiety, or problem drinking.
Pressure may not be easing for some time soon either as recent research shows a significant rise in people seeking mental health support.
The most recent data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that life satisfaction and happiness levels across the country remain at their lowest since the start of the first national lockdown.
"It's very important that people do get that workplace support, including psychological support, team-based support, and that people can see, sort of a brighter future,” adds Stevens.
Written by Marco Ricci
Editor and contributor for Talking Mental Health