Categories
Coronavirus Mental Health

More mental health support for health and social care staff

New helpline will provide round the clock service.

All health and social care workers in Scotland will now have access to mental health support 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a new national helpline.

The Scottish Government is funding the wellbeing helpline for those who need further psychological support, including in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This follows the success of the National Wellbeing Hub for staff launched in May.

Trained practitioners at NHS 24 will offer callers a compassionate and empathic listening service based on the principles of psychological first aid, as well as advice, signposting and onward referral to local services if required.

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said:

“I am deeply grateful for the hard work, commitment and professionalism of those working in health and social care services at this time of unprecedented challenge.

“The National Wellbeing Hub has had over 30,000 online visits since its launch in May and the new helpline will complement that service. Whatever your role and wherever you work, I would encourage you to make use of the many resources on the Hub, including advice on managing stress and anxiety, fatigue, sleep, relaxation and exercise.

“For those who need one-on-one support, the new mental wellbeing support line will be available around the clock to help staff access appropriate additional support.

“We are continuing to monitor the impact of the pandemic on our valued workforce and will do our best to ensure that appropriate support services are put in place to help them.”

Stephanie Phillips, Director of Service Delivery at NHS 24, said:

“NHS 24 are delighted to support our partners by offering this helpline to complement existing services. Our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners will respond with compassion and empathy to offer support whenever it’s needed. Health and social care staff look after us – this is one way in which we are looking after them.

“We know that for everyone calling us, being listened to, and knowing that someone cares, is really important in difficult times. This is just as important to our health and social care colleagues as to those they care for.”

Background

The health and social care workforce mental wellbeing support line (0800 111 4191) will be operated by NHS 24 on a 24/7 basis from 10 am on 20 July.

Trained practitioners will provide a compassionate listening service and psychological first aid to callers. They can provide a range of support including directing people to resources available through the National Wellbeing Hub. If needed, and with a caller’s agreement, they can also refer people on to local staff support services.

The helpline is a confidential service for staff. There will be no automatic notifications to GPs or employers. Onward referral will only be with the caller’s consent.

The Scottish Government’s National Wellbeing Hub operated by PRoMIS is designed to be the first point of contact for all employed health and social care staff but also for their families, as well as unpaid carers and volunteers looking for support.

Categories
Coronavirus Mental Health

Supporting mental health

Further investment to help children and families during pandemic.

Key mental health services to support families, young people and autistic people are to receive more than £1 million additional funding.

Health Secretary Ms Freeman made the announcement today (Sunday) following 40 days of lockdown when many people have felt an effect on their mental health. The allocation of funding comprises:

• £768,000 for a relationships helpline to be delivered by The Spark counselling service
• £105,000 to support Young Scot to develop enhanced digital content and resources on mental health
• £205,000 to support 47,000 autistic people across Scotland, including funding to increase capacity at the Scottish Autism Helpline and help for the National Autistic Society to keep people in touch online during lockdown

Ms Freeman said:

“While everyone is experiencing different challenges at this time, the mental health of children, young people and families can be put under great strain.

“We appreciate that spending a lot of time together in isolation and home-working, home-schooling and juggling childcare can be really tough.

“This crisis means many people are dealing with anxiety, fear, uncertainty, anger or sadness. They may feel overwhelmed and relationships can be placed under a lot of pressure.

“We want to ensure that the right help and support is in place for the mental wellbeing of our children, young people and families. This package of measures focuses on prevention and recovery, and on maintaining healthy relationships throughout the current restrictions. It follows the launch of our national campaign, Clear Your Head, last week.”

Background

The Clear Your Head campaign highlights practical ways to look after mental health and wellbeing while continuing to stay at home – and signposts sources of help and advice.

The Spark is a third sector organisation which delivers counselling services to families across Scotland, including relationship and couples counselling and counselling for children and young people. They currently operate a Relationship Helpline on a small scale for nine hours a week. The number of the Relationship Helpline is 0808 802 2088 and this additional funding will enable the helpline to operate Monday-Thursday 9am to 9pm and Friday 9am to 4pm. 

Scotland has launched a digital resource called Mind Yer Time specifically to help children and young people learn about the healthy use of screens and social media. It supports mental and physical health online and was developed by the Scottish Youth Parliament and Children’s Parliament. In the first ten days since its launch the guide had almost 13,000 views.

The additional funding will allow the Scottish Autism Helpline to open 8am-8pm, seven days a week on 01259 222022.

Further details of the additional funding for autism support.