We've gathered information, advice and links to resources that can help support the health and well-being of social care workers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank social care workers across Wales who have worked so hard keep vulnerable people safe and well during the Covid-19 pandemic.
We’re aware that caring for and supporting people in such challenging times will have perhaps taken a toll on your mental and physical well-being.
That’s why it’s so important you look after yourself. Remember, feeling overwhelmed is not a weakness nor does it reflect badly on you. We’d encourage anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed, anxious or in need of support to seek support from their line manager and make use of the resources described in this section of the website.
We’re keen to support you and are continuing to update our health and well-being information for you. We hope you find this useful in supporting your physical and mental well-being.
Need help now?
Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious and feeling like you just can’t go on? Perhaps you are feeling out of control and fearful - you are not alone. The World Health Organisation described the coronavirus outbreak as “unique and unprecedented scenario” for many frontline workers.
Get help now – please do not delay seeking support from the services listed.
Canopi is a free, confidential service providing access to mental health and well-being support for social care and NHS staff in Wales. Canopi is available Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, call 0800 058 2738 or email email@example.com. For more information, visit canopi.nhs.wales.
Samaritans has a confidential support line for NHS and social care workers in Wales. Their volunteers are there to support you when you’ve had a tough day, are feeling worried or overwhelmed, or just have a lot on your mind and need to talk it through. Sometimes, a friendly voice, some time to reflect and a listening ear can make all the difference. It’s more important than ever that we look after ourselves and each other. Call the free confidential support line 0800 484 0555 (Open every day, 7am to 11pm) or the free confidential support line in Welsh 0808 164 2777 (Open every evening, 7pm to 11pm).
Anyone concerned about their mental health can access confidential emotional support from the C.A.L.L. Helpline on freephone 0800 132 737 or text help to 81066. The C.A.L.L website also offers information and literature on mental health and related matters.
The BAME Helpline Wales is the helpline for anyone over the age of 18 living in Wales, particularly if you identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic. The helpline aims to respond to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on BAME communities by providing information, referral and signposting to specialist advice, mainstream and community organisations. The helpline is open 10:30am to 2:30pm, Monday to Friday and can be contacted on phone 0300 222 5720 and SMS text on 07537 432416.
BASW Cymru has a free well-being support service which is open to all social workers in Wales. The Social Work Professional Support Service is a peer-to-peer listening service, in which trained volunteer coaches support colleagues in confidence. Click here to find a coach to work with.
Maintaining your physical well-being
Maintaining a healthy diet and having good nutrition is very important during stressful times. A healthy diet and eating well can play an important part in supporting your physical well-being, a helpful webinar on maintaining good nutrition in the current times of stress, fear and uncertainty is available from This Can Happen. The webinar is also supported by a free downloadable slide pack on maintaining good nutrition.
If you are struggling with muscle and joint problems (such as neck, hip or back pain) and would like support to help manage your condition, you can get rapid access to NHS physiotherapists through the Well-being Through Work Service. The service is free and confidential. Please note the service is only available to those working in businesses in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend.
Staying active and keeping yourself physically well can be more difficult at this time. There are tools, advice and ideas on keeping physically well on the Public Health Wales website.
Welsh Government written statement on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for protecting front line health and social care staff who are caring for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Good mental well-being
Managing personal resilience plays a key role in how we manage stressful and difficult situations. It also helps to improve our performance in the workplace as well as having a positive impact on our health and well-being. Carmarthenshire Council has an engaging, short course on managing personal resilience. The course covers a range of topics, such as factors in resilience and includes links to a personal resilience test.
More of us may now be working from home which means the usual support we access in our workplaces may not be there for us. As we adapt to new ways of working, it is important that we reflect on what keeps us well and identify what can impact our well-being while working from home. Mind has a resource on How to support your mental health when working from home. It is a practical resource that helps you develop a personalised action plan to support your mental health.
Activate your life is a free online course designed to help you improve your mental health and well-being. The course is based on a relatively new approach to therapy – ‘Acceptance and Commitment Therapy’ (ACT). The course is in four filmed sessions, which show you practical ways of dealing with thoughts and feelings.
Help for Heroes has made its Field Guide to Self-Care available to anyone who could benefit from it, but especially frontline workers in health and social care. The guide is aimed at helping you deal with emotional challenges and practical changes, caused by Covid-19. The guide is available in Welsh and English and is broken down into three parts; Body, Emotion and Mind and can be worked through in one go or one at a time.
Mindfulness can be beneficial for mental health. The free Mindfulness Based Living app developed by the Mindfulness Association provides all of the guided practices for their Level 1 – Level 3 Mindfulness courses.
Working in exceptionally challenging circumstances can leave you feeling anxious and worried. If you or one of your colleagues is struggling with anxiety, there is a five minute podcast developed by Dr Chris Williams explaining how you can take control of anxiety. The podcast can also be found within the NHS mental health audio guides.
SilverCloud is an online mental health therapy platform that uses proven methods like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help people experiencing mild to moderate anxiety, depression or stress. People aged 16 and over in Wales can sign-up for using SilverCloud via their smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. SilverCloud is backed up and supported by a team of psychologists and online cognitive behavioural therapy co-ordinators. The team supports users through the programme by monitoring progress, sending messages and adding personalised recommendations where necessary.
Community Care has published an emotional resilience guide. The guide is a free download to support all practitioners during the pandemic and includes specific techniques practitioners can try to develop a personal resilience “toolbox".
The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust has made available resources to help emergency workers stay well, particularly when it comes to mental health.
Carers UK provides detailed information and tips designed to help both you and those you care for look after your mental well-being. There is also information and specific ideas on how to develop a well-being action plan.
If you are feeling anxious or worried, the Mind website is a good source of information for what you can do to take care of your mental health and well-being.
Improvement Cymru has a mental health resources page, which provides useful self-help resources and information , including links to apps aimed at helping you look after your mental health.
Financial well-being is as important as ever in the wake of the pandemic and the current rise in the cost of living. Anxiety about money can understandably have an impact on your well-being. We have pulled together a list of initiatives to assist and advise you with financial pressures you may be facing at this time.
If you are concerned about money, the Money Advice Service has useful information to help you identify how you can best manage your finances. The information covers a range of topics such as how to make an emergency budget and the best way to pay bills.
The Care Workers’ Charity supports care workers with hardship grants. There are currently two grants on offer, the Crisis Grant Fund and the Covid-19 Emergency Fund. Both grant funds are open to receiving applications from social care workers.
Financial support and debt advice is available for social workers from the British Association of Social Workers website.
If you sign up with us for a Care Worker Card, you will be able to use it as proof of your employment in the care sector in Wales to apply for a cashback card on the Discounts for Carers website. This can be used to get cashback on purchases from more than 40 retailers. By signing up for a free account on the Discounts for Carers website, you can also get access to retail offers on a wide range of goods and services.
Support for managers
As leaders and managers in social care, you are working hard to protect the well-being of your teams who are going above and beyond to ensure services continue for those who need them. Well-being remains a priority and additional support maybe needed.
Your teams – protecting well-being and reducing the risk of burnout
Managers can access a practical guide on maintaining team resilience from Skills for Care. The guide includes examples of things that you can do to reduce the risk of workplace stress, help workers develop resilient behaviours and make resilient behaviour the norm in the workplace.
Here is a five-minute check in you can do with your team to help support them to consider their need to self-care:
- Have I eaten regular meals this week?
- Have I showered?
- Am I getting enough sleep? Do I wake in the night and struggle to go back to sleep?
- Am I being self-critical or am I thinking kind thoughts about myself?
- Have I made time to go for a walk or to be outside?
- Have I spent time with someone who is important to me, even if that’s a phone call or video call?
- Have I moved my body today?
- Has something made me smile this week?
The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust managers resource describes some of the physical and emotional responses you may see from your team. It explores ways you can support your team and their well-being.
Compassionate leadership – what is it and why is it important to leading in a crisis?
You can find resources, including webinars and blogs explaining what compassionate leadership is on the Kings Fund website and why it is so important as a leadership approach during a time of crisis. You can also find other resources and webinars to enable a compassionate approach to leadership.
More resources on compassionate leadership are available from the Health Education and Improvement Wales website, Gwella. These include a compassionate behaviour compass to help us navigate how we interact and engage with colleagues.
Leading teams providing end of life care
Some care providers in Wales are providing end of life care and this is hugely emotionally challenging. Here you can find advice and resources on how to support your team through their grief and model compassionate leadership.
Supporting staff who are experiencing poor mental health
Mind provide free templates to help managers and their staff to develop Well-being Action Plans as a way to proactively support positive mental health and prevent work related stress and burn out.
The Intensive Care Society has made available a series of downloadable posters aimed at improving our understanding of psychological well-being at work, the impact that reduced well-being can have and what we can do in response. You can use the posters to set up a staff wellbeing board or complement other well-being activities in your workplace.
Concern is rising about the long term impact of the pandemic on the mental health of care workers and the increasing risk of social care workers developing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Managers have a vital role to play in recognising the signs of PTSD among their staff and teams and being able to direct them to appropriate support. A helpful resource is available from the All Wales Traumatic Stress Service Initiative - the resource is written for anyone supporting people who experience traumatic events and is full of practical information and toolkits managers can use to support their staff.
Hints and tips for managing teams during COVID-19
Healthier Scotland have developed a well-being hub for health and social care workers. There are resources for managers and leaders offering support on modelling self-care, supporting effective team working and supporting individual team members.
The Local Government Association has produced an Employer's Guide to help managers support the well-being of their staff.
It’s useful to consider practical tips on how you manage your teams to adapt to changing circumstances.
To promote workplace well-being, you might want to consider creating a ‘Pause Pod’, if your setting allows. A Pause Pod is a dedicated space for staff teams to take a moment of calm, rest or quiet reflection. It can be used before, during or after the working day and this can be defined by your operational needs. It is a quiet, calming space where you may like to access some self-care resources, refreshments or just a space to sit quietly. You might use the room to host a positive messages board where you and your team can leave messages of thanks, admiration and positivity.
It can be difficult to remain motivated during a prolonged period of stress and pressure. This article from the Kings Fund explains why our motivation can be affected and gives practical suggestions to help support managers and leaders maintain their energy.
Approaching a well-being conversation
Managers have the unique opportunity to create a culture that supports and promotes employee well-being at the workplace. Holding well-being conversations with empathy makes your team members feel more valued and supported. The All Wales Workforce Well-being Conversation Guide is designed to shape evidence-based well-being conversations at work. The guide aims to help managers better understand the well-being needs of their staff as well as offering them a means of having that important conversation about their well-being.
Peer support networks
Online networks were set up during the pandemic, giving managers the opportunity to meet up with their peers and get some support, in English or in Welsh. One of these is currently still going and there are plans to restart the others in the autumn.
The one you can still currently join is:
Coffee @ Cwtch
If you’re a busy care home manager, we run a fortnightly online meet up where you can connect with other older adult care home managers across Wales.
If you’d like a chat about what to expect, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 07780993649.
The session is for anyone in a management role, including deputy managers and clinical nursing leads and managers.
Coffee @ Cwtch is a partnership between Social Care Wales, Age Cymru and the Royal College of Nursing.
For details of the other peer support networks for managers, please check back here in the autumn.
For some people, Covid-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is called post-Covid-19 syndrome or long Covid.
The complexity of long Covid, which presents in a number of ways, means that managers and employers need to have a good understanding on how best to support workers who experience long Covid.
The Society of Occupational Medicine guidance sets out principles for managers on how they can best help someone with long Covid return to work.
The Society of Occupational Medicine has also published a return-to-work guide about how to manage getting back to work after Covid-19 infection and long Covid.
A Covid recovery app has been launched as part of the wider support on offer for people experiencing the longer-term effects of coronavirus. The app is part of a wider national approach in Wales to support people with post-COVID syndrome. The app has more than 100 videos and links to advice. App users will be able to record their symptoms, track their progress and learn to manage their condition at home with support. Search ‘covidrecovery’ on the Apple and GooglePlay app stores.
Support services and groups
Disabled people can now benefit from financial support to work from home, thanks to an extension to the Access to Work scheme. You can get grant funding if you’re disabled and need support to work from home as a result of the pandemic, which can help pay for special equipment such as a screen reader or video remote interpreting or support worker services. The Access to Work scheme is designed to help people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition stay in employment.
Need mental health support at work? Able Futures can help you manage your mental health at work. Able Futures delivers the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. The support service is flexible and free to use.
Information, help and support is available for those who are experiencing or know someone experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Age Cymru is offering a check-in-and-chat telephone service for the over 70s in Wales who live alone. The initiative will help provide some reassurances to older people, answer basic queries and link people to local services and support.
General information and resources
The social worker well-being and working conditions: good practice toolkit is aimed at social workers in practice, social work supervisors, workforce development leads, managers, and leaders. For social workers in practice, the toolkit should help you be more informed and empowered to look after yourself better at work; recognise when you need support and how to access it; develop knowledge and skills to influence your organisation; and know your rights and what you should expect from your employer.
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales has a coronavirus information hub for families and children.
The social worker toolbox has useful guides, tools and resources for parents and carers on how to talk to children about coronavirus.
If you have a question or if you can't find what you are looking for get in touch with us.