New resources to help health care workers cope with COVID-19-related stress

  • University College London
  • 7 Apr 2020

  • curated by Priscilla Lynch
  • UK Medical News
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

The COVID Trauma Response Working Group has issued video advice for front-line health care workers on coping with stress during the COVID-19 crisis.

The advice has been issued alongside new guidelines for health care workers managing responses to stress experienced by hospital staff about the psychological effects of COVID-19 on health care workers.

The group comprises psychological trauma specialists, coordinators of psychosocial responses to trauma and NHS well-being leads and is coordinated by University College London (UCL) and the Traumatic Stress Clinic at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Michael Bloomfield, an academic and consultant psychiatrist who convened the group, said: “We’re very concerned about the health and well-being of our frontline colleagues in the NHS and all over the world. We know that they are facing many stresses including concerns about their own safety at work. We want them to know that they are not alone. It’s normal and healthy to seek support from colleagues, friends, family, or other people they trust.”

The group pointed to evidence from previous epidemics suggesting that up to one-third of front-line health care workers will experience high levels of distress.

Their tips include:

  • Give yourself permission to take regular breaks during your shifts.
  • Eat, drink and sleep as well as you can.
  • Try to use strategies that have helped you cope with stressful situations in the past.
  • Take time out between shifts.
  • Stay in touch with friends and family - video and phone call them if you cannot see them in person.
  • Engage in physical activity.
  • Maintain a routine as much as possible.
  • Plan regular activities that make you feel good, and tasks that take your mind off the crisis.
  • Avoid unhelpful copying strategies such as smoking, alcohol or other drugs.
  • Try to limit the time spent watching, reading or listening to the news.
  • Reach out for help if you need support.