A new confidential service offering vital wellbeing and psychological support to key workers across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) has been launched.
Keeping Well BLMK provides an opportunity for staff, who may be struggling with the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic or other stressful or upsetting situations, to talk to trained professionals about their feelings and their wellbeing needs.
The service is available to anyone employed or sub-contracted by the NHS, as well as local authority workers, including social care and public health staff.
It is also open to anyone working in nursing homes and care homes, carers who visit people in their own homes, carers who are paid via personal health budgets, teachers and people working in emergency services, such as the police, ambulance service and fire brigade.
Dr Ryan Kemp, director of therapies, Central & North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“COVID-19 has brought considerable challenges and stresses to health and care professionals. Keeping Well has provided vital support to key workers experiencing stress, anxiety and exhaustion caused by working through the pandemic.”
The team’s practitioners can support with common mental health conditions and put workers in contact with other organisations, services and resources who might be able to help them further.
Keeping Well BLMK is being run by Bedfordshire, Luton, and Milton Keynes (BLMK) Integrated Care System (ICS) and is being delivered by Central & North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust.
The ICS is the local partnership of NHS commissioners, two hospitals, community care, mental health and ambulance service providers, who are working in partnership with four local councils and other partners, including voluntary, faith, community, social enterprise and academic groups to improve health and care services for the local community.
Emily Carter, workforce transformation project manager at BLMK ICS, said:
“The last 18 months have been tough for everybody, and this has been particularly true for the key workers we all rely on to keep us safe and healthy.
“By working as an integrated care system, we are able to jointly coordinate and run the services we offer to our local community, and by launching Keeping Well BLMK we can also support all of our key workers across the different organisations they work for.”
Keeping Well has also been able to provide support to staff affected by the situation in Afghanistan, whether they are working with refugees arriving in the UK or if they have family and friends in Afghanistan and are finding the situation there upsetting and stressful.
One key worker, who works for a local NHS trust, said:
“I found out about the Keeping Well Service via wellbeing support at work. I got in touch because several of my family members in India had passed away due to COVID-19. I realised that I needed help to process the sheer number of deaths. Keeping Well was very helpful in helping me to cope at this time.”
Any key worker who would like to find out more about Keeping Well BLMK can visit www.keepingwellblmk.nhs.uk.