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Frontline NHS staff need more mental health support, says British Psychological Society

09 October 2020

To mark World Mental Health Day, the British Psychological Society (BPS) has called for more psychological support for frontline NHS staff to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the NHS prepares for a potential second wave of the virus, the BPS is urging a focus on staff wellbeing and support for frontline workers.

The BPS wants to see more psychologists in posts across all areas of the NHS, and psychologists specifically employed to concentrate on staff wellbeing.

There must also be support in place for psychologists themselves to avoid burnout, with psychologists describing working through the pandemic as an ‘emotional rollercoaster’.

Speaking in a Westminster Hall debate, Lisa Cameron MP, Chartered Psychologist and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Psychology Group, raised the need for mental health support for frontline workers, and called for a detailed proposal from the government about how they will protect and sustain the mental health of key workers.  

Sarb Bajwa, Chief Executive at the British Psychological Society said:

“Major health crises inevitably lead to a rise in psychological trauma and concerns over mental health and psychological wellbeing.

We want to ensure that frontline workers have access to the support they need.

They are supporting us through our national recovery, we must support them through their psychological recovery.”

Julie Highfield, member of the BPS’s Division for Clinical Psychology, Wales said:

“NHS jobs involve exposure to a huge range of potential stressors including competing demands, conflict, complex decision making, shift work, long hours and patient mortality.

All have been exacerbated by Covid-19.

We must support key workers through their psychological recovery, with psychological care and by helping the NHS to become a more psychologically informed and supportive environment”

To ensure the future psychological wellbeing of frontline staff, and access to services for those who need it most, the BPS also wants to see psychologists involved with the development of psychologically healthy workplaces to build a culture of compassion and support.

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