02 November 2021
With Covid-19 cases increasing across the country, and growing pressure on the NHS heading into winter, the BPS is urging action in the community interest to keep everyone safe.
Rising cases lead to high levels of serious acute illness, long-term chronic ill health and disability, (including Long Covid), death and bereavement. These all have psychological as well as physical consequences.
With members working across a range of settings, including frontline NHS services, community health settings, education and private practice, the BPS is acutely conscious of the strain that services and staff are under. We are also aware of the mental health impact of the pandemic and the difficulties people have trying to access the support and services they need.
Against this backdrop, the BPS wants to see clear and consistent health messaging about wearing face coverings, physical distancing, hand hygiene and ventilation to encourage people to protect others as well as themselves. Psychological evidence makes it clear that it is important we view these measures as protections, as opposed to restrictions, and that we understand that we are acting in the community interest to drive down infections and protect each other.
We need to redefine what we see as ‘living with the virus’. ‘Living with the virus’ does not mean so many people have to become ill or we put vulnerable people at risk. If we work together to reduce levels of infection it means everyone within society can live more normal lives, and we don’t limit the lives of those who are vulnerable or have long-term health issues. By encouraging action in the community interest, and taking sensible precautions we can protect each other and the NHS.
The BPS has produced a range of guidance during the pandemic including guides on how to optimise vaccine take-up, hand hygiene, physical distancing and highlighting the importance of using evidence-based behavioural science in these interventions.