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Health and Wellbeing at Work

12 Mar 2024

Rapid Access Mental Health Support in the Workplace

Dr Muzaffer Kaser
The mental health of healthcare workers has been a major concern, but it has been even more so after the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing staff shortages in the NHS. Multitude of factors led to a substantial increase in requests for mental health support among staff and negatively impacted those with pre-existing mental health conditions. To address this, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust implemented a service focused on rapid access offering an initial assessment within 2 weeks. The Staff Mental Health Service (SMHS) provides multidisciplinary mental health support and caters to individuals with prolonged and persistent conditions. Its team includes consultant psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, mental health nurses, an occupational health nurse, and dedicated administrative staff. This comprehensive assessment and treatment approach led to significant improvements in depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms after treatment, enabling many to return to the workplace and improve their work focus. The service also includes a research component to measure its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. External funding supported a Health Economics Evaluation study to provide evidence of its benefits, including improved presenteeism and staff retention. The Cambridgeshire Staff Mental Health Service is seen as an exemplary model for addressing the mental health needs of NHS staff, particularly during a time when a capable and efficient workforce is vital.
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