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Online resource launched to protect mental health of healthcare workers

Tuesday, 07 April 2020

A free online resource has been launched to help those working in healthcare cope with the stress of dealing with Covid-19 and help maintain their psychological wellbeing during and after the pandemic.

The e-learning package has been put together by a health psychologist from the University of Nottingham in collaboration with the University of Leicester. It is for any healthcare staff and students. It covers the possible impacts of the pandemic on mental health and practical measures that can be taken to combat these and maintain psychological well-being.

Chartered health psychologist  Dr Holly Blake led the development of the resource, she said: “It’s clear that healthcare workers are facing a challenging situation. Although they are used to working with some level of stress, extreme measures to boost the NHS workforce means that many staff will need to work in new or unfamiliar roles, and will experience increased demands and more pressure, in these unpredictable circumstances.

This will take its toll on healthcare staff, and there may be longer-term impacts to wellbeing. There is a huge array of information and guidance out there but this could be daunting for anyone looking for support. We have brought together information about psychological wellbeing for healthcare workers, including tips from experts in the medical and academic sphere and essential signposting to help staff cope with the current situation.”

Creating psychologically safe workplaces

The online package includes advice for team leaders to create psychologically safe workplaces where staff feel comfortable raising issues and concerns. It covers communication, the importance of language and avoiding social stigma, and advocates accessing support from colleagues, friends and family.

The resource also provides guidance on supporting mental health in others through Psychological First Aid. Most important is the focus on self-care during these challenging times. The package includes guidance on rest and work breaks, shift-work, sleep and fatigue. It addresses specific impacts of the pandemic, such as making morally challenging decisions around providing for patients with limited resources, and balancing the needs of patients with the needs of self. There is guidance around dealing with grief, and managing emotions such as fear, anxiety and low mood.

It’s normal to experience difficult emotions in these situations. Making decisions in demanding environments can be hard, and staff may experience feelings of guilt when they are unable to provide care in the way they would like. This is a common emotion for healthcare workers who need to self-isolate
Dr Holly Blake

This resource includes tips and advice from experts in mental wellbeing as well as those with direct experiences from the frontline.

The package can be accessed at https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/toolkits/play_22794

 

We’ve designed this resource to be easy to navigate so users find the relevant information quickly and we hope it will be useful to help support those working in healthcare who may be facing some extremely stressful situations in the coming weeks and months.
Dr Holly Blake

Story credits

More information is available from Dr Holly Blake on Holly.blake@nottingham.ac.uk or Jane Icke, Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Science at the University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 5751 or jane.icke@nottingham.ac.uk

Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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