Mental health among NHS staff is becoming a national issue, with recent news reports highlighting a significant rise in stress-related illness.
However, a wide range of support is now available to staff at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT).
The Trust’s Occupational Health Manager, Michael Cockayne, recently outlined the help on offer to staff in any department around the areas of mental health, stress and anxiety.
He said: “In short, we want all of our staff to feel valued and supported at work, and if there are any concerns impacting upon their mental health, to allow them to benefit from the right support.
“Firstly, we have our Employee Assistance Programme, a service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to any staff member experiencing problems affecting their psychological wellbeing.
“This service is not just for staff – it can also be accessed by family members who live at the same address as employees of our Trust.
“We also have Mental Health Access to Work, who hold a clinic at the Trust’s Occupational Health (OH) Department every month.
“And we have our own specialist occupational therapist, Charlotte Walker, who undertakes Occupational Therapy assessments within the OH Department too. Charlotte offers ongoing support for staff affected by issues such as stress and anxiety.
“She also runs training workshops, which any Trust staff member can book onto. For more information, please see the Occupational Health Department’s Twitter page at @BTHFTOccHealth
OH have also been working with Abigail Smith from Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, who is halfway through delivering an eight-week ‘Living Life to the Full’ course to 15 BTHFT staff members.
My Wellbeing College
The course aims to provide staff members with the tools to manage low mood, stress and anxiety. Further information on further courses from My Wellbeing College can be found here.
Michael added that if any staff member felt that work was impacting negatively upon their mental health, other avenues of support were available outside the OH Department, including speaking with the Trust’s Freedom to Speak Up team or their trade union representative.
Staff and managers may also wish to refer to the Trust’s Managing Stress at Work Policy and Guidance here, which contains practical guidance as well as tools to act on any concerns raised.
Trust Staff Nurse and RCN Steward, Anne Kennedy, said: “Staff are not immune from suffering mental ill health and the growing pressure on health services can take its toll.
“Staff can suffer from financial problems, stress, depression and the impact of prolonged, challenging working environments. It’s not just our colleagues in acute areas but those working in all wards and departments, as well as out in the community, who are coping with the emotional challenges of demanding roles.
“We need to ensure we look after ourselves, especially our mental health and wellbeing, and remember that trade unions are here to provide support and can help with financial advice, counselling, and other welfare issues too.”
Nurses suffering financial hardship (whether they are RCN members or not) can also contact the Lamplight Support Service on 0345 7726100 or via email at email@example.com
BTHFT staff can contact the OH Department directly on 01274 364171 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org