All health and social care workers in Scotland will now have access to mental health support 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a free and confidential national helpline.
The Scottish Government is funding the wellbeing helpline for those who need further psychological support, including in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
This follows the success of the National Wellbeing Hub for staff launched in May.
Trained practitioners at NHS 24 will offer callers a compassionate and empathic 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 MSP 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.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Working in health and social care is not for everyone. While many health and social care professionals love their work and find them very rewarding, it can be extremely stressful, emotionally taxing and physically demanding.
“It is incredibly important that we support those who support us and I am pleased that this 24/7 service has been established, especially for them.”
Stephanie Phillips, Director of Service Delivery at NHS 24, said:
"NHS 24 are delighted to support our partners by offering this helpline to complement existing services. Our Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners will respond with compassion and empathy to offer support whenever it's needed. Health and social care staff look after us – this is one way in which we are looking after them.”
The health and social care workforce mental wellbeing support line (0800 111 4191) will be operated by NHS 24 on a 24/7 basis from 10 am on 20 July.
Trained practitioners will provide a compassionate listening service and psychological first aid to callers. They can provide a range of support including directing people to resources available through the National Wellbeing Hub. If needed, and with a caller’s agreement, they can also refer people on to local staff support services.