Responses to the current crisis will vary from individual to individual and from day to day. Sometimes we’ll feel like we’re coping, other times we’ll feel stressed and overwhelmed. There are many varied responses to the current situation and many different ways of getting through this. We know that mostly people are resilient and cope remarkably well despite challenging situations. However sometimes we need a little extra support to get us through.
Below is a summary of useful wellbeing resources for staff and managers dealing with COVID-19. We hope you find it helpful.
NES Learning Materials
These NES resources provide information and downloads for staff and managers. Resources are provided in 3 sections:
- Looking after yourself: supporting resilience and wellbeing in health and social care workers.
- Looking after people: providing psychosocial support.
- Looking after your staff: responding to distress in front line health and social care workers.
Key information with downloads and graphics from this include:
- Normal reactions to the current situation and ways of coping.
- Check In, Check Through, Check Out. Useful questions to support each other through the day. These can be used for personal self-reflection or by teams and with colleagues incorporating them into everyday practice.
- Going Home Checklist: suggestions on what to do at the end of the working day – here is a NHS Forth Valley version.
- Coping with Coronavirus: advice for ICU health care staff.
- Psychological Distress and Coronavirus: advice for professionals providing support to people in self-isolation.
- Staying Safe and Well: a self care guide for staff looking after patients with Coronavirus.
- Psychological First Aid: the principles of this are applicable to all health and social care staff looking after the public and colleagues, whatever their role. ‘Psychological First Aid’ is known to improve the longer-term psychosocial outcomes and effective recovery for people in times of crisis, such as this ongoing pandemic. Psychological First Aid involves offering humane, supportive and practical help, as well as paying attention to the factors that seem to be most helpful to people’s long-term recovery. Here is an infographic summarizing the key components of Psychological First Aid for Others as well as suggestions for Self Care in a Crisis, download the Providing Psychological First Aid to Others Leaflet.
In facing the current COVID-19 crisis fear, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed are all normal reactions. We can all expect to experience these to some degree or another.
Below are a range of resources you might find helpful:
- We are all likely to experience a range of responses to the current situation. This leaflet explains a little of what you might expect. Download What to Expect with COVID-19 It’s Okay Not to Be Okay Leaflet.
- It’s perfectly normal to feel worried during exceptional times such as these. However, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s important to acknowledge your feelings and speak to someone you trust, whether that’s a friend, a family member, or a colleague. A helpline such as NHS24 (shortcode 111) or Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) may also help.
- FACE COVID (Dr. Russ Harris) this 5 minute animation suggests practical psychological steps for dealing with the current situation. It is based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) an approach increasingly used by psychological therapists worldwide. There is a document version of this animation here.
- Learning how to breathe as a way of calming our bodies can make a big difference. Visit the NHS website for a written description of a breathing exercise you can practice.
- For audio version of breathing exercises, relaxation techniques and a short mindful exercise visit Stress Control.
- Finding ways to manage your worrying thoughts can be really helpful – this guide uses a cognitive behavioural approach (CBT). It contains information on managing worries, finding a life balance in the current climate of uncertainty and an activity menu for ways to stay occupied. These might also be helpful for friends and family at home.
- Worrying thoughts typically focus on imagined negative and catastrophic outcomes in the future. Mindfulness is a very effective way to bring our attention back to what we are experiencing in the current moment. There is a range of different audio resources to help with this on the Free Mindfulness website.
- When we are faced with stress it can be difficult to concentrate, focus our attention and make decisions. Ways of coping that have worked in the past for us, may not work currently or we may be limited in being able to carry them out. Some days will be better than others. It’s useful to have a range of coping strategies. The NHS website offers a short quiz to work out what type of strategy may be useful and gives alternative suggestions and tips to try.
- Self-care plan – looking after ourselves can be especially important at times like this but also tricky to do. The SPARK tool is a self-reflective tool which can help people make a self-care plan covering different aspects of their lives. It encourages small steps towards making positive changes in looking after ourselves. While we may not have quite the same access to the full range of opportunities for self-care at the moment we can adapt some of the suggestions by linking in to these via the internet.
- Stress Management for Health Care Professionals – this document suggest ways to monitor your stress level as well as on the spot ways of calming and grounding yourself at work.
- For advice on working from home as well as additional self-care information visit The Mental Health Foundation.
- In addition to the Going Home Checklist above please read the Nightshift Wellbeing Guide for things to consider if you are working night shifts, download the Nightshift Wellbeing Guide.
- For additional ways to look after your Mental Health and Wellbeing during Covid-19 download this leaflet.
- For generic self help guides on a range of psychological issues please visit Self Help Leaflets An NHS Self Help Guide.
- Helpful advice if you are worried about coronavirus and in isolation can be found here.
- Clear Your Head Scotland has a range of tips and ideas to help you keep a clear head during these uncertain times.
Online Stress Control Classes
Many of you will be familiar with Stress Control which runs throughout the year for staff and residents. Whilst we are currently unable to access this you can view similar information on managing anxiety and stress via Step on Stress which has been produced by NHS Fife Psychology Service. It is recommended that to get the maximum benefit from this course to watch all four sessions in running order (1-4).
Apps and Wellbeing Programmes
There are a number of useful apps which can support your wellbeing at this time. Visit your app store on your mobile or via the internet links below.
- ACT Companion: The Happiness Trap App. Based on ACT principles; be present, open up and do what matters. (See FACE COVID animation above)
- Chill Panda can help you learn to relax, manage your worries and improve your wellbeing. It is suitable for children and adults. The app measures your heart rate and suggests tasks to suit your state of mind. Tasks include simple breathing techniques and light exercises to take your mind off your worries.
- Headspace is a mindfulness app and website. It is now offering NHS staff free access until the end of 2020. All you will need is your NHS email address to register and log on.
- Catch-It Mood Tracker and Manager can help you manage feelings, like anxiety and depression, look at problems in a different way and improve your overall mental wellbeing.
- Daylight is a smartphone-based app that provides help to people experiencing symptoms of worry and anxiety, using evidence-based cognitive behavioural techniques, voice, and animation. You will need to download the app ‘Daylight – Worry Less’ onto your phone.
- Many people are struggling with changes in their sleep at the moment. Sleepio is a clinically-evidenced sleep improvement programme that is fully automated and highly personalised, using cognitive behavioural techniques to help improve poor sleep. You can access Sleepio via your laptop or desktop computer.
- You can also access Managing stress, sleep and building resilience evidence based online CBT programmes from SilverCloud (use code: NHS2020).
- Other apps free to NHS staff can be found here.
- Further resources including COVID -19 specific information and wellbeing posters can be found at The Intensive Care Society – Wellbeing Resource Library.
- For those with young families at home or for those working with children, young people and families you can find advice in relation to COVID-19 here. This document includes advice on talking to children about COVID-19, managing anxieties, working with pre-existing mental health and neurodevelopment disorders, learning disabilities, looked after children etc. The Natural Health Awards leaflet has been adapted for families to use during the Covid-19 restrictions as a way of supporting their children’s and their own mental wellbeing and resilience. It outlines 15 activities to try. Download the leaflet here.
- A colourful infographic reminding us of key things to consider for ourselves and our teams at this time can be downloaded here.
- If you are a keyworker with young children at home then this guide from the British Psychological Society, Advice for Key Worker Parents: Helping your child adapt to changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be useful.
You may also find the following websites of assistance:
- NHS Education for Scotland
- NHS Inform
- Support in Mind Scotland
- Breathing Space
- Mental Health Foundation
Movement for Health
Health at Hand
To link in with the Scottish Government’s ‘Clear your Head’ campaign, Scottish Ballet is collaborating with NHS Scotland to create and deliver a fortnightly package of movement exercises for on-duty staff within the NHS and Social Care system.
Scottish Ballet’s Engagement Team are set to film a package of three video sessions every two weeks, offering exercises that are tailored to warm the body at the start of a shift, create physical and mental balance during breaks, and release stress that the body contains at the end of shifts. Designed for individual participants or small groups, the dance and movement sessions are available via Scottish Ballet’s YouTube channel, bringing the benefits of dance to those working across services.
The team from Art in Hospital has kindly donated sketchpad kits for staff to use during breaks – these are available from the library on the second floor of Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which is currently being used as a Staff Sanctuary, adjacent to the staff wellbeing info board.
In addition to working with the principles of psychological first aid (see above) managers might like to access the following additional resources to support their staff.
- This WHO document provides advice on mental health considerations for managing staff at this time
- The Intensive Care Society link (as above) has good posters to download on looking after staff as well as self care during COVID-19.
- A guidance document on optimising staff preparedness, wellbeing, and functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic response as well as useful infographics and wellbeing resources can be found here.
Post Covid-19 Support
While we may cope well during the current pandemic it may not be until afterwards that we struggle with some of the things we have been through. The impact may happen months or years later. If this happens to you please talk to someone you trust about what you are experiencing. You can seek professional support and advice (including counselling and psychological therapy) via Occupational Health (Tel: 01324 566663 or FV.OHSadmin@nhs.scot) or via your own GP or Mental Health Services .