Covid-19 - Support for Practice
How can we help?
We just want to let you know that we at Wessex LMCs are thinking of you and want to help you however we can.
There are plenty of resources out there and you have probably got information overload, but this might be helpful:
Self-Care & Stress Management
Ongoing news reports can contribute to increased anxiety and stress. Set a limit on how much time you spend checking the news. Check in with the news once in the morning and once in the evening.
On Friday, the World Health Organization's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged people to check the news from reliable sources only once or twice a day.
Other ways you can manage your stress during this time include:
- Adequate sleep – ensure you’re getting 6-8 hours of sleep a night
- Up your vitamin C intake – citrus fruits are the best way to boost your immune system
- Meditation – even three minutes of meditation a day can have positive effects on your health
- Light exercise – take a walk around the neighbourhood; fresh air and sunlight are great for your immune system and can increase your mood and decrease your anxiety levels
- Alternative methods to Socialise – check in with friends via FaceTime or give them a call
- At-home hobbies to give your mind some respite from work –puzzles or just catching up on TV shows
When it’s all feeling a bit too overwhelming, it may be helpful to focus on what you are grateful for. Some people find it really therapeutic to make a daily "gratitude list" in order to build psychological resiliency.
Try guided Apps and websites to help:
A-Z of mental Health Apps: https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/
App based around teaching mindfulness meditation principles to improve wellbeing.Headspace, is offering free subscriptions during the Covid crisis.
Deep breathing is a perfect reliever of anxiety.
The 4-7-8 method, can reinstill a sense of calm when you feel out of control.
The method involves breathing in for four seconds, holding for seven, and exhaling for eight,
Web-based mood tracking and management platform
Wellbeing Podcasts: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/podcasts-and-videos
A series of free audio podcasts to improve wellbeing, including guided relaxation, mindfulness and overcoming fear and anxiety.
App for sleep management, combining cognitive behaviour principles and the latest in sleep research.
Unmind is a mental health platform that empowers staff to proactively improve their mental wellbeing. Using scientifically-backed assessments, tools and training you can measure and manage your personal mental health needs, including digital programmes designed to help with stress, sleep, coping, connection, fulfillment and nutrition.
A smartphone-based app that provides help to people experiencing symptoms of worry and anxiety, using evidence-based cognitive behavioural techniques, voice and animation.
(with many thanks to Julia O'Mara. Mental Health First Aider for the information above)
Various NHS recommended apps here: https://people.nhs.uk/help/health-and-wellbeing-self-help-apps/
Podcast - How to deal with our sadness, anger and grief through the crisis
“I don’t know about you but I’ve noticed a background level of anxiety in myself that I haven’t had before. I guess this is normal. We’re living through unprecedented times.” Any frontline workers will find this useful, as well as anyone who is finding themselves endlessly checking the news, social media....
Podcasts for All from Wessex LMCs
We are continuing to develop relevant podcasts and recently have created:
- Taking control in Unprecedented times
- A model for hot and cold sites
- Top tips for video consultations
- Resilience – when it all feels too difficult
- Health and Safety in the time of Covid 19
- Child Safeguarding during Covid-19
- The calm before the storm – coping with uncertainty and dread
Do subscribe via your podcast app on your phone to access our complete range of podcasts, and catch the new ones as we release them.
The NHS is launching a hotline to support and advise healthcare staff during the coronavirus pandemic. Volunteers from charities including Hospice UK, the Samaritans and Shout, will listen to concerns and offer psychological support. The phone line will be open between 07:00 and 23:00 every day, while the text service will be available around the clock. The phone number is 0300 131 7000 or staff can text FRONTLINE to 85258. It comes as staff face increasing pressure to care for rising numbers of patients who are seriously ill with the virus.
The government have produced an excellent guide for looking after your mental health here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing
There is more guidance and assistance on the NHS employers website for what is available for NHS staff to access: https://www.nhsemployers.org/news/2020/03/free-access-to-wellbeing-apps-for-all-nhs-staff
As individual physicians, we can practice strategies to increase and maintain our personal resilience. Feeling stress does not mean we are not coping well or not able to do our job. In fact, it is a normal human response, and may be useful in allowing us to function during this difficult time. The important thing is to manage it effectively so that stress does not become distress: Ensuring Our Own Wellbeing as We Care for Others During the COVID-19 Crisis
A short video on Coping with stress associated with COVID19
Free guide to help you to manage your worry and anxiety in these uncertain times: Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty
Helping you manage your own health and wellbeing whilst looking after others: https://people.nhs.uk/
www.project5.org is a national scheme of free coaching for NHS staff, set up to support through COVID19.
Bereavement support line - There is a confidential bereavement support line, operated by Hospice UK and free to access from 8:00am – 8:00pm, seven days a week. A team of fully qualified and trained bereavement specialists are available to support you with bereavement and wellbeing issues relating to loss experienced through your work. You will be offered up to 3 sessions with the same counsellor and onward support to our staff mental health services if you need. Call 0300 303 4434.
Bereavement and trauma support line for our Filipino colleagues
After engaging directly with colleagues from the Filipino community, a new NHS bereavement and trauma line, supported by a team of fully qualified and trained Tagalog speakers is now available. The confidential, free to access line is available seven days a week from 7.00 am – 11.00 pm. You do not need a referral. Call 0300 303 1115. Tagalog speaking specialist counsellors and support workers are available if colleagues:
- have experienced a bereavement
- wellbeing has been affected by witnessing traumatic deaths as part of your work
- need to discuss any other anxiety or emotional issues you may be experiencing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic
Staff common rooms - The staff common room is an opportunity for our NHS people to come together virtually and support each other during this difficult time. The staff common rooms are a safe and supportive environment through which colleagues can continue to stay mentally well. They are open to anyone working in the NHS. Join one of the daily virtual group sessions!
Looking After You Too
Click here to find out more.
#LookingAfterYouToo is an individual coaching support offer for primary care staff. Recognising that frontline staff are facing many challenges, a support programme was launched on 24 April 2020.
Social Media graphics with quotes from Practice Managers that can be used to promote the offer:
It’s an easy to access, individually tailored coaching support service for the frontline primary care workforce, proactively supporting people through COVID-19. It’s a space for staff to offload the demands of whatever they are experiencing and be supported in developing practical strategies for dealing with this is available 7 days a week, 8:00am – 10:00pm Monday to Friday and 10:00am – 6:00pm Saturday and Sunday.
Coaching sessions will continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic until at least March 2021.
Take a look at some of the positive feedback form those who have already participated:
"The best 45 minutes I have had invested in me in a long time. I felt listened too and confident to share my thoughts and concerns for the future. Thank you to all for the opportunity to do this"
"I felt the sessions helped with a break through with my issues. My concerns were well listened to and the advice and understanding given was excellent"
"I find these sessions allows you protected time to focus on an area that is concerning you in a protected supportive environment. My coach has allowed me to desensitize the situation and be proud of my behaviour throughout a difficult time"
Support for GPs
Wessex LMCs have some particular support for GPs via our GP Support and Development Scheme here https://www.wessexlmcs.com/gpsd
The NHS England commissioned service Practitioner Health details which are available for GPs are here:
Accessed via here: https://www.practitionerhealth.nhs.uk/covid-19-workforce-wellbeing
The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) have developed the following information to provide GPs support around suicide prevention:
- Mental Health Toolkit for GPs. https://www.rcgp.org.uk/clinical-and-research/resources/toolkits/mental-health-toolkit.aspx
- ‘Working Together to prevent Suicide’ https://www.rcgp.org.uk/clinical-and-research/about/clinical-news/2019/september/working-together-to-prevent-suicide.aspx
Support for Practice Nurses
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and your mental wellbeing: https://www.rcn.org.uk/get-help/member-support-services/counselling-service/covid-19-and-your-mental-wellbeing
Support for Practice Managers
Wessex LMCs is running weekly webinars (accessed here https://www.wessexlmcs.com/events) Every Wednesday at 1pm our Directors of Primary Care will be giving an update to our PMs and will be answering questions. Helene Irvine, our Practice Nurse Advisor will also be on the call. It will be a chance for PMs to share good practice and vent frustration! For those unable to join us live, we will have an audio podcast available for anyone to listen to after the event (accessed here https://www.wessexlmcs.com/wessexlmcsaudiopodcastssupportingyouandyourpractice)
We also have our Practice Manager Supporters who are working as PMs right now in the middle of Covid 19 so are brilliantly placed to sympathetically understand exactly what you are going through and what pressure you are under. Do contact them via our webpage https://www.wessexlmcs.com/practicemanagersupporters
The Wessex LMCs team is here to support you - do not hesitate to contact one of our Directors via firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help in any way.
Do take care and look after yourselves.