Previous to the COVID-19 pandemic HHP Wales, which is funded by Welsh Government and administered through Cardiff University, was a service primarily for doctors, who needed a listening ear or referral to occupational health or cognitive behavioural therapy.
Since the pandemic began, the service has expanded to offer signposting to a range of support for NHS staff, students and volunteers in Wales with access to various levels of mental health support. The service has seen a significant increase in queries, not just those on the front line but throughout NHS Wales and has now received more funding from Welsh Government to expand the service and help more people.
What to expect
Those who would like to talk to a Doctor Advisor about the options available to help their health and wellbeing are asked to complete a simple online form. An appointment is usually made to speak to one of our Doctor Advisors within 48 hours who can then provide further advice. Around 85% of health and care professionals are referred onto to talking therapy services or other tiers of support and others are directed to the range of online resources that offer assistance with their health and wellbeing.
Tiered support options include access to the peer support network and access to and guided self-help for post-traumatic stress.
Other resources include guided self-help through SilverCloud, webinars and podcasts, yoga and meditation videos and links to other mental health organisations.
We do not offer an ‘emergency’ service and cases requiring urgent support are advised to contact more appropriate services.
Making managers aware
Making employers and managers aware of HHP Wales’s service enables them to better support and advise their employees and facilitate their access to the service and resources offered by HHP Wales.
We encourage those in Wales to visit the HHP Wales website and access the resources available.
All employers or managers will understand the pressures their health care professionals have been under this last year and enabling them to access these vital resources and support will help lower anxieties and worry in these very stressful times.
Around 10% of users of the service are referred by managers or supervisors and around 12% through occupational health referrals or employee wellbeing initiatives. 10% are from University student support services and 10-15% are referred by GPs.
Being a health and care professional can be very stressful at normal times and the services offered by HHP Wales are not just here for the pandemic. Support can be made available for any reason that is impacting on a professional’s mental health and wellbeing. The Doctor Advisors are skilled at exploring individual situations and referring onto the most suitable services for that person.
Those who have used the service can be the most powerful in raising its profile and encouraging both employees to use it and managers to recommend it to others.
Geraint Thomas, an Advanced pharmacist in HIV and homecare within the University Health Board, contracted COVID-19 in April 2020 and has struggled with the mental and physical effects of long COVID since. He shared his experience in a blog on their website of the past year and how the HHP Wales service has helped him.
After being recommended the service by a friend, Geraint contacted the service for support and was assigned a therapist within a week who would lead him through sessions of CBT.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has changed many lives and impacted on people’s physical and mental health. Those needing mental health assistance have previously considered themselves fit, well and resilient. The support people are receiving from HHP Wales is invaluable, especially at these uncertain times.
My experience with HHP Wales has only been positive. Having used CBT in the past, I loosely understood what I was to expect, but also my therapist gave me very useful tips to get the most out of the sessions and then implement this into my day-to-day life. Geraint Thomas, Advanced pharmacist
HHP Wales want to make professionals and managers aware of the service so help can be provided to as many people as possible.
More about HHP Wales
To find out more about the HHP Wales service visit their website.
Health and wellbeing resources available for those outside of NHS Wales
Our Wellbeing resources signpost to resources that are available for health and care professionals working outside of NHS Wales.
Also read Supporting staff wellbeing during COVID-19.
If you would like more information on the employer resources we provide please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.