25 February 2021 – Mental Health Network – governance during the COVID-19 pandemic webinar

25 February 2021

Last week’s webinar opened with a presentation from Professor Neil Greenberg of King’s College London who spoke about the research he has led around staff mental health, trauma and wellbeing.

Research shows nearly half of intensive care unit (ICU) staff are likely to meet the threshold for PTSD, severe anxiety or problem drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neil shared details of a study called NHS Check, which is collecting data about the health and experiences of staff working at NHS trusts. The study has looked particularly at the topic of moral injury. In tackling these challenges, he emphasised three things which should be deployed to support the workforce:

  • Supervisors at all levels should feel confident to have a psychologically savvy conversation. In MH trusts, it’s important we take the skills we use with patients into how we interact with staff. The studies show that this attitude can have a huge impact if this is applied. He shared that they are running a course called REACT, a bite-size intervention for active listening skills to support the confidence of supervisors, which will hopefully be rolled out nationally.
  • Peer support, such as active buddying on shifts or mental health first aiders, and ensuring these are used effectively and people know they are there.
  • Reflective practice to help avoid moral injury. Team leaders should be leading this, and they need to feel confident to hold reflective practice group. It is about coming up with a meaningful narrative which doesn’t apportion blame but focuses on what happened in a difficult situation.

Also overheard during last Thursday’s webinar:

“The RCPsych has written up a recovery plan called Going for Growth. We should not just look to avoid illness but help people grow through the process. We should consider how people were beforehand, what was the trauma like, what happened afterwards, and it is the final bit which leads to the biggest change so it makes sense to focus on doing this well. Getting the last stage right can lead to a more resilient workforce.”

“One challenge is that wellbeing initiatives were taken away after the first wave and this demoralized people too. Prevention is really important and an opportunity to look at what we have always needed in the first place.”

“We need to recover our people in order to recover our services.”

“With wellbeing conversations you are trying to encourage people to be open and download and it’s important that they feel comfortable to say they’re not doing okay. It will also be important to ask personal questions around bereavement and life at home and it’s this information that can help improve their wellbeing, provide flexibility etc. Trying to pack this into an appraisal process may be difficult.”

These meetings are by invitation only. For further details, visit our website https://www.good-governance.org.uk/events/

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk