North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust has pledged to support the principles of the Nursing Times Covid-19: Are You OK? campaign.

The aim of the campaign is raise and maintain awareness of the issues affecting the mental wellbeing of nursing staff before, during and in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. The campaign is also there to reaffirm support available for NHS colleagues.

Anna Stabler, Executive Chief Nurse, is backing the campaign and has said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has required a sustained incident response over many months during 2020. It’s been challenging for us all in many ways and has stretched our personal wellbeing reserves. 

“We understand the often-distressing nature of caring for patients with Covid-19, particularly when patient numbers are high and resources are stretched. We also know the potential negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of nurses and other staff of working through the coronavirus pandemic, and are committed to providing support to those who are affected. We also recognise that the effects of this work may be delayed or enduring and we will ensure support remains available after the crisis has passed.

“Based on this and our commitment in putting our colleagues first, we've put systems in place to enhance support for all colleagues. We’ve worked on improving and developing our support services, rapid access to Occupational Health support, signposting to national support and developing self-help resources. We have also launched TRiM - a peer delivered support system designed specifically to help in the management of support following traumatic events.”

Some of the other steps the Trust has implemented to protect staff mental health and wellbeing include:

  • The launch of the Vivup Support Staff Portal and 24/7 Vivup helpline. This service offers advice on mental wellbeing, financial information, NHS discounts and more.
  • Regularly sharing information on local and national support services and self-help resources
  • The launch the Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) to all staff; TRiM is a peer-delivered risk assessment and ongoing support system, designed specifically to help in the management of support following traumatic events.
  • The creation of the Staff Wellbeing Network; this service works to support colleagues in finding the most helpful route to take to gain support.
  • Providing a rapid access management referral system to Occupational Health and also a self-referral system to see a physiotherapist via the Trust’s PhysioFAST service.

Anna adds:

“Staff are the heart of our organisation; our colleagues have ensured the NHS was not overwhelmed in the initial peak – often at great personal cost whilst continuing to provide excellent and compassionate care to patients and their families

“It is our responsibility to care also for our workforce, and to ensure that our teams are more than just OK.

“In supporting the campaign we pledge to:

  • Provide easily accessible formal mental health and wellbeing support to staff for as long as it is needed;
  • Foster a culture of mutual support, in which staff are alert to the possibility that colleagues may be experiencing problems as a result of their work during the pandemic, and ready to offer informal support such as listening and signposting to internal or external sources of formal support;
  • Ensure that staff who are experiencing problems know that they will receive a positive, supportive response if they disclose problems, and understand that being asked ‘Are you OK?’ is a gesture of support and care, not an accusation of weakness.

“Now more than ever, it’s vitally important that our colleagues feel supported and able to ask for help when they need it and that we support each other, especially over winter when our services are stretched even further. We will be raising awareness of this campaign and the options to access support throughout our Trust."

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