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Chief Executive

The BPS response to the coronavirus outbreak

30 March 2020 | by Chief Executive

Events over the last couple of weeks have been unprecedented, and I want to start this month’s blog by sending my best wishes to all of our members at what is a hugely uncertain and difficult time for everyone.

As many of you will now have seen, we have cancelled all physical BPS and member network events until at least the end of May. We have also postponed BPS Conference 2020, which we were due to hold in Leeds in July.

I know that this is hugely disappointing for our members and staff who have invested their time into these events, and I hope that as many of them as possible are able to take place at a later date.

We will still be running some professional development webinars, which are conducted remotely and I hope will be particularly useful to you during a time when other forms of CPD are off limits.

Following government recommendations, we are also working remotely as an organisation to help keep our staff, members and potential visitors safe.

Our Board of Trustees held a virtual meeting last week, and our member network committees will continue to meet regularly without face-to-face contact.

Clearly there can be no such thing as business as usual during a global pandemic, but we will do all that we can to be as close to it as possible and continue to provide our members with the services that you need.

There are significant psychological elements to this crisis, and I’ve been delighted to see our members showing real leadership in producing swift and accessible guidance, often at a moment’s notice.

You can view all of these on our dedicated webpage, which we’ll be building throughout the pandemic, but I want to highlight a couple that are already available.

Our Division of Educational and Child Psychology has produced two fantastic documents, one with tips for talking to children about coronavirus, and one that advises parents and carers whose children are now off school until further notice.

Older people are likely to be hit particularly hard by this pandemic, not just in terms of becoming ill with the virus but having to self-isolate for long periods. Our Division of Clinical Psychology’s Faculty of the Psychology of Older People has responded to this with two documents, one focused on policy makers and one aimed at older people and carers directly.

These are just early examples of the response of our psychological community, and I know that members from across the full spectrum of psychological knowledge will be contributing to resources over the weeks and months that lie ahead.

It is important that our members still have the opportunity to connect with each other during the current crisis, and in the coming days we will be launching our Member Connect online community, which all BPS members will be invited to join.

While we originally intended this platform to be for updates and co-creation on our transformation journey, and will still provide these, we know that an online space for psychologists to discuss the current situation with each other would be hugely helpful, and I hope that it does this for you.

Keep an eye out for an email inviting you to join later this week.

Please take care, and continue to follow all guidelines on social distancing and keeping each other well, both physically and psychologically.

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