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“Hello my name is Lydia Heartland-Rowe, and this is a brief check-in to say a little bit about the website and also about the North Central London Mental Health and Well-being Hub.
There is news to give about what’s happening on the website and also just to say a little bit about the Hub and how it works, but I just wanted to say a few words first about the context that we’re in and why we really hope that the Hub and the website will be useful to staff in the North Central London NHS and social care workforce. Conversations with colleagues and connections in NHS and social care at the moment both bring back the experiences that we went through nine months ago when the pandemic first really started to take its toll, and at the same time highlight the stark differences. What seems familiar is the level of anxiety, fear and the desperate wish wherever you’re located in the NHS and social care workforce to be able to do something to make a difference in our efforts to manage, control and shift the course of the pandemic.
In terms of staff support we are seeing again a huge amount of goodwill and and a desire to do something and help. And again we know that what’s really hard is being ready to be guided by whilst people feel they need and can manage – to give the kind of help that is wanted and needed which right now might, for some people, be more in a practical space. But there is a lot that is different from the first wave – for one thing what everyone I speak to emphasises is how tired people are that there hasn’t been recovery time or time to process or make sense of the experiences we’ve had over the past year which for many have been significant and potentially traumatising. So hope is harder to find and feel mobilised by even though we know intellectually there are some cause for hope like the vaccine. And we know to that there is less shared expressed collective support for each other this time round as a wider society.
We are in a more divisive and less collective space just at the time when we probably most need to be looking after each other and finding ways to be mutually respectful and encouraging and valuing each other’s perspectives and experiences. But one thing is the same and that is we know that it’s difficult feeling helpless, it is difficult not to be able to use one’s commitment and passion and expertise, and really feel that we can heal, that we can care properly, that we can help to make sense and meaning, that we can provide the central and support services as well as what we want to knowing how crucial they are – or just to enjoy our working situations and help others to enjoy them too.
What we do know also is the ways we support each other are even more important now than they’ve ever been. We also know that every small thing that we do does make a difference, every connection we make within the system changes the system, every good contact we have with someone makes a difference even if it is not obvious right then and there what that difference is, and these differences spread and gather and connect us.
The North Central London Mental Health and Well-being Hub is aimed at doing exactly this, at providing contact in different ways that will create a web or a network of support across some really different organisations in in North Central London. The website which is going to rebrand and relaunch on Monday and will be called keeping Well NCL will have a different look, a different emphasis and new ways of creating relationships across the system. One of the biggest differences is that there’s going to be a live chat platform which allows for real interaction with Hub staff. The focus and emphasis will change too – there will still be material relating to the individual but we are adding more on teams and organisations recognising that while self care is important, it is our connections with others that is going to make a difference at the moment. There will also be training and we’re also making plans for live webinars and also for some digital training available for NCL members of staff to access to do at when suits their working patterns.
What won’t change about the website and about the Hub as a whole is that we want it to be in conversation with the network and we want it to change and adapt and develop according to what we learn is most needed. We know that there are many people in the system who have struggled and are struggling with the mental health consequences of what we’re going through together, and together we are committed to finding a way to make a difference.”
Our reactions to the Covid-19 pandemic are complicated. We all have our own personal reactions to “potentially traumatising events” – ‘potential’ because not everybody will be traumatised by what is happening, and ‘traumatising’ because some people will be, to a greater or lesser extent.
We have designed this simple-looking quiz asking a few questions about how your feelings have or haven’t changed because of Covid-19, to give you a broad overall profile of your response and point you towards related resources. This is not a diagnostic tool, but a bit of a sense-check for you – and for us. For more information about the Wellbeing Quiz please listen to our introductory podcast or you can view an overview of the profiles here. As we learn more about the patterns of peoples’ responses over time, we will keep updating and developing resources too. We hope you find it interesting and helpful!
Please select the statement/s (maximum 2) which apply most to you based on how you have been feeling recently.