Health and social care workers in Scotland will now have access to “around the clock” mental health support through a new national helpline.
The government is funding the 24/7 wellbeing helpline for those who need psychological support in light of the coronavirus crisis. This follows the launch of the National Wellbeing Hub for staff launched in May.
Trained practitioners at NHS 24 will offer callers a listening service based on the principles of psychological first aid, as well as advice, signposting and onward referral to local services if required.
Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said: “I am deeply grateful for the hard work, commitment and professionalism of those working in health and social care services at this time of unprecedented challenge.
“The National Wellbeing Hub has had over 30,000 online visits since its launch in May and the new helpline will complement that service. Whatever your role and wherever you work, I would encourage you to make use of the many resources on the Hub, including advice on managing stress and anxiety, fatigue, sleep, relaxation and exercise.
“For those who need one-on-one support, the new mental wellbeing support line will be available around the clock to help staff access appropriate additional support.
“We are continuing to monitor the impact of the pandemic on our valued workforce and will do our best to ensure that appropriate support services are put in place to help them.”
The launch follows the Labour Party’s proposal for new an emotional support system for social care and NHS staff in England.
The ‘Care for Carers’ package was unveiled in June by Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Shadow Minister for Mental Health, who’s calling for the “inadequate” mental health support given to NHS and care staff to be overhauled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
She said the service would offer a hotline that carers could call if they felt the need for emotional support.
The 24-hour line would be staffed by paid professionals seven days a week and would offer follow-up support to those who use it.
This would include assessments and support from specialists in PTSD, addiction and more.
The Labour Party says the current support available is “inadequate” because it does not cover private sector staff doing NHS and social care work, and there are long waiting lists and significant regional variations.