Frontline staff and volunteers at the forefront of the national coronavirus response across England will be able to access a new Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course, the Minister for Mental Health, Nadine Dorries announced today.
From today the course, which has been developed by Public Health England, will be available to frontline workers and volunteers dealing with the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
The free online course enables responders to develop their skills and confidence in providing key psychological support to people affected by coronavirus, including on issues such as job worries, bereavement or isolation as they carry out their vital work as part of the ongoing coronavirus response.
It will also help to develop understanding of how emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic can affect us all, how to recognise people who may be at increased risk of distress, and how to offer practical and emotional support.
Minister for Mental Health, Nadine Dorries said:“Supporting each other’s mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever during these challenging and uncertain times. Staff and volunteers in many different roles are working tirelessly to provide crucial support at this time and are often a critical touchpoint in identifying those who may be affected.
“This new training course will help to support the incredible work of frontline workers and volunteers who work around the clock to support those most in need both through the coronavirus outbreak and beyond, equipping them with vital tools to deliver psychological first aid.”
Psychological First Aid is being used world-wide to support those in need of mental and wellbeing support in emergency situations and the World Health Organisation and United Nations are supporting its use in response to coronavirus.
The new course has been developed by Public Health England with support from NHS England and Health Education England and is being made available to frontline workers across England by social learning platform, FutureLearn. Frontline responders can access the training materials for free through the FutureLearn website.
Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said: “The current pandemic has had a profound impact on all of our daily lives and none more so than our frontline workers who are seeing the effects of the outbreak first hand.
“Our training course aims to provide frontline staff and volunteers with additional resources on how to take care of their own mental health and wellbeing, how to provide support to those who need it most and advice on how to cope with difficult situations.”
Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Mental Health Director said:“NHS staff have been working around the clock in the face of the biggest challenge our health service has ever faced, which is why it’s so important that staff are properly supported with their mental health.
“Psychological first aid training and a new text, online and telephone support service are just some of the many ways staff can be supported and I would urge anyone with concerns about their mental health to come forward to a colleague, your occupational health team or our helpline so that we can get you the help and support you need.”
Helen Fuller, Global Healthcare Lead at FutureLearn said:“The pandemic has impacted the mental health and psychological wellbeing of countless individuals. FutureLearn is proud to partner with Public Health England to develop this Psychological First Aid training course, which we hope will enable people to have the conversations that count at this time of uncertainty and stress for so many.”
Notes to editors:
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About Public Health England: