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Looking after your mental well-being

mental health

Information correct as of 13.10.2021

The NHS Wales Staff Wellbeing Covid -19 Resource has been developed by HEIW for all NHS staff to access and learn more about how we can look after ourselves. Access this to learn about the various sources of support available.


Guidance for Leaders and Managers

The British Psychological Society has developed guidance for leaders and managers wh will need to consider the well-being needs of all staff, both clinical and non-clinical, at this time.

HEIW have developed a resource to help us to Lead with Compassion during this time.

Academi Wales have developed a number of resources regarding resilience and leadership in the current climate.


Self Care for NHS Staff – collated by Dr Julie Highfield, Consultant Psychologist

  • Most importantly, this is unprecedented: It is okay to not be okay
  • Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts at or
  • Feeling stressed is an experience that you and many of your colleagues are likely going through. It is quite normal to be feeling this way in the current situation. Stress and the feelings associated with it are by no means a reflection that you cannot do your job or that you are weak.
  • Managing your stress and psychosocial wellbeing during this time is as important as managing your physical health.
  • Take care of your basic needs and ensure rest and respite during work or between shifts, eat sufficient and healthy food, engage in physical activity, and stay in contact with family and friends.
  • This is an unprecedented scenario, don’t try to learn new strategies, use the ones that you have used in the past to manage times of stress.
  • This is likely to be a marathon - pace yourself.
  • Consider your psychological energy levels- you will need to “fill up” after “emptying the tank”
  • Be aware of your “bandwidth”- it might take longer to think things through and make sense of things if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • STOP, BREATHE, then THINK- slowing the breath slows the stress cycle and re-engages your frontal lobes - then you can think.
  • Avoid using unhelpful coping strategies such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Some workers may unfortunately experience avoidance by their family or community due to stigma or fear. If possible, staying connected with your loved ones including through digital methods is one way to maintain contact. Turn to your colleagues or team leader for social support - your colleagues may be having similar experiences to you.
  • Beware of using dramatic language that might panic your colleagues.


Public Health Wales offers the following advice:

Understandably, you may find that social distancing can be boring or frustrating. You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.

At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time such as:

  • Look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to/watching favourite radio or TV programmes
  • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise regularly, and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
  • Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside into the garden. You can also go for a walk outdoors or exercise if you stay more than 2 metres from others

You can also go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others.


NHS Every Mind Matters


Tips on working well from home


NWSSP Covid-19 Well-Being Service

We have now launched the new NWSSP Covid-19 Well-being Service. This comprises of a Peer Support Service, a Mental Health First Aid Service, and access to a vast range of additional resources.

A Peer Support Service - this network is to support all our colleagues, at any level, in any role. The aim of the network is to provide colleagues access to someone to listen and have a gentle conversation to help colleagues understand how they are feeling. There will be complete confidentiality and no judgement, and it is aimed at helping colleagues feel heard and not alone.

We will regularly post here to let you know who is available each day. This information is also sent out in the regular NWSSP Communications email.

We have a new email address, which is available for you to contact for support and information. We are here if you want to discuss your situation in confidence and can provide information about the health and wellbeing resources available.


  Time Contact name Contact details
Friday 1st October 9am-11am Alwyn Hockin 01792 860487
Monday 4th October 1pm-3pm Nigel Hughes 01443848635 or Teams

Tuesday 5th October



Natalie Hole 02920903807 or Teams
Wednesday 6th October 2:30pm-4:30pm Nigel Hughes 01443848635 or Teams
Thursday 7th October 1:30pm-3:30pm Kerry Flower-Fitzpatrick 07799342040 or Teams
Friday 8th October 9am-11am Julia Denyer 02920903817 or Teams
Monday 11th October 2pm-4pm Emma Pascoe 01443848601 or Teams
Tuesday 12th October 9am-11am Michelle Richards 01443848605 or Teams
Wednesday 13th October 2:30pm-4:30pm Joshua Morgan 01792 860599 or Teams
Thursday 14th October 9am-11am Carolyn Isles 07523870170 or Teams
Friday 15th October 1:30pm-3:30pm Nigel Hughes 01443848635 or Teams
Monday 18th October 4pm-6pm Helen Higgs 01495300846 or Teams
Tuesday 19th October


Kerry Flower-Fitzpatrick 07799342040 or Teams
Wednesday 20th October 9am-11am Michelle Richards 01443848605 or Teams
Thursday 21st October 10am-12pm Matthew James 01495300792 or Teams
Friday 22nd October 8:30am-10:30am Alwyn Hockin 01792 860487
Monday 25th October 10am-12pm Carolyn Isles 07523870170 or Teams
Tuesday 26th October 2pm-4pm Carolyn Isles 07523870170 or Teams
Wednesday 27th October 2pm-4pm Julia Denyer 02920903817 or Teams
Thursday 28th October 4pm-6pm Helen Higgs 01495300846 or Teams
Friday 29th October 9:30am-11:30am Matthew James 01495300792 or Teams


NWSSP Mental Health Support

NWSSP has trained a number of Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) who are available to provide support and guidance to those who require assistance. Please bear in mind that some of these MHFAs may be working flexibly due to the current circumstances and so if you do have difficulty getting in touch with a MHFA, please contact


MIND and Active Monitoring

MIND have developed a new programme called Active Monitoring. It is a six week FREE guided self-help programme available to anyone in Wales aged over 18. It teaches people to gain a better understanding of their emotions from anxiety & depression to grief, loss and loneliness: 


External Services

Your Peer Supporter or Mental Health First Aider can help you navigate these and find the right resource for you. Please see below the support that is available:


Silver Cloud

SilverCloud is available to support you by accessing SilverCloud. SilverCloud offers online programmes to help ease your levels of stress, sleep better or to build resilience, helping you to maintain a healthy mind during this challenging time. Find out more on our dedicated Silvercloud page.



Neyber are currently providing free access to their financial well-being service which can help those experiencing financial uncertainty at this time.


The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a dedicated confidential information and counselling support service for all staff, providing confidential assistance with any work, personal or family issues. You can contact an EAP, any time day or night to access professional for support, including telephone information, fact sheets, information packs and short term counselling. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Tel: 0800 2434 58

SMS (for call back): 07909 341 229




In addition, the following organisations can offer advice and support:


Anxiety UK

Helpline – 03444 775 774

Text Service – 07537 416 905

Anxiety UK are offering a coronavirus support network, helping you to understand your anxiety through these difficult times and get support and advice should anyone need it.


Mind Infoline - 0300 123 3393


The MIND Infoline team provide support and information on a range of mental health conditions; how and where to get help; medication and alternative treatments. Completely confidential.



Free Phone - 116 123

Samaritans helpline is a 24 hour service offering a listening ear, they will talk with you about how you feel and help you find local support. Completely confidential.


SANEline - 0300 304 7000

​Open 4.30pm till 10.30pm everyday

​SANEline is an out-of-hours service offering help and emotional support for anyone who may be experiencing a mental health condition, including family. You can reach out in a non-judgemental empathetic environment. Completely confidential.


Rethink mental illness

Free Phone - 0300 5000 927

​Rethink help people who are affected by mental health conditions, they will offer a chance to talk and may advice you on what support is available. Completely confidential.


Text SHOUT to 85258

SHOUT is the UKs first free service for anyone who may be in a crisis anytime, anywhere.

​It’s a place to go if you’re struggling and need some help. Completely confidential.


Mental Health at Work

The "Mental Health at Work" is an online gateway that offers vast access to resources, support and information.


lets talk loneliness

We can experience loneliness at some point in our lives. Let’s Talk Loneliness is an online resource that brings together organisations, resources and stories that are united in a shared aim, to get more people talking about loneliness.