Supporting the mental health of NHS staff: the role of leaders, managers and champions

BMA Mind The coronavirus pandemic has presented our NHS workforce with one of its greatest challenges to date. It’s unlikely that we’ll understand the full impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff for some time yet – but what we do know is that compassionate leadership is needed now more than ever.

Elsewhere on Mental Health at Work you’ll find quick sources of help and advice for frontline health staff Our Frontline: support for healthcare workers Right now, healthcare workers are facing an extremely challenging situation. Taking care of your mental health might be taking a back seat. Let us help. View toolkit, as part of the Our Frontline campaign to look after the mental health of all those working to keep the country going during the pandemic. But the British Medical Association and Mind have found that the biggest barriers stopping people from finding this support are

  • senior leadership not creating cultures where mental health and wellbeing is prioritised, and
  • the stigma associated with mental health issues and services.

It’s also clear that the informal support colleagues give to one another is hugely valued right across the NHS. And, particularly in reducing stigma, champions have a major part to play.

Based on these insights, they have produced a series of three resources as a starting point to help NHS leaders prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of their people. They cover:

  1. The role of NHS leaders in reducing mental health stigma and creating mentally healthy cultures
  2. The role of NHS line managers in supporting better mental Health
  3. The role of champions and peer supporters

You’ll find the first two resources below. The remaining one will be published later in the year.

You can also watch a half-hour webinar that introduces the resources and shares practical tips on lowering stigma and starting conversations about mental health:

The issues addressed in these guides aren’t unique to the current pandemic; they have existed in the NHS for a long time. But, as the guides themselves say: if now is not the time to do this, then when?

Resources in this toolkit: