Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce

Key resources to support adult social care employee mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond

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On this page you will find the results of in-depth desk research into resources which have been developed by a broad range of organisations to support the mental health and wellbeing of the adult social care workforce in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and beyond. Much of the content posted here has been developed at pace and represents a snapshot of what is on offer as at September 2020.

We have broadly categorised the resources around specific topics, for example, death and dying, mental health at work and remote working or specific segments of the adult social care workforce including frontline staff working in any sector, managers, and social workers. We have also included some content aimed at shared lives and unpaid carers. We think there remains a gap in terms of material aimed at people who employ Personal Assistants, and for Personal Assistants themselves. Where we think material may be useful in more than one category, we have included it twice.

Whilst recognising that advice on financial or employment matters could also be very important to a person’s wellbeing during COVID-19, we have limited ourselves to resources which focus primarily on mental health and wellbeing.

Apart from one, all of the resources and offers are free at the point of use, with most requiring no particular eligibility criteria. Some resources require (free) registration to access them. The majority of the resources are available nationally-where this is not the case, this is indicated. The bulk of the resources have been developed specifically in response to COVID-19,while others have been adapted. We have included some resources which, while not being COVID-specific, are nonetheless extremely useful

We are very aware that some staff who have experienced traumatic events either in their working or personal lives may need specialist support and intervention from skilled and experienced professionals or volunteers. Please note that guidance from Health Education England warns against intrusive but well-meaning attempts to make people relive a traumatic incident -often called psychological debriefing- immediately after an event, which can actually increase the risk of later PTSD.

Hospice UK runs a Bereavement & Trauma Support Line 0300 303 4434 8am to 8pm seven days a week with trained counsellors and support for those whose wellbeing has been affected by witnessing traumatic deaths as part of their work. A referral is not required. We have also included a section of support with death, dying and bereavement during COVID-19.

Managing the wellbeing of furloughed staff during the COVID-19 pandemic: employers guide
Aimed at councils as employers; may also be useful for employers of the wider care workforce

Wellbeing for front line staff: protecting the mental health of front line staff and key workers during COVID-19 - steps employers can take
Aimed at councils as employers; may also be useful for employers of the wider care workforce

A councillor’s workbook on supporting mentally healthier communities
LGA and the Mental Health Foundation

A self-managed distance learning resource to support councillors to develop mentally healthier communities Not COVID-specific but full of hints, tips, case examples and signposts to other resources, with particularly useful sections on individual and community psychology and social networks.

Public Mental Health and Wellbeing and COVID-19
LGA and Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH)
Useful summary of possible mental health and wellbeing impacts across the whole life course.

Loneliness, social isolation and COVID-19: practical advice
Primarily aimed at directors of public health (DPHs), this summarises the risk and loneliness risk factors arising from COVID-19 and suggests different types of local responses to combat or reduce these risks, as well as aiding community resilience and recovery.

COVID-19 pandemic: ethical guidance for social workers
British Association of Social Workers (BASW)
Aimed at social worker practitioners working in emergency situations and who may face decisions beyond the usual bounds of ethics and practice.

COVID-19: Guidance for adult social care
Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust and the Chief Social Workers of England
High level academic summary paper aimed at social care practitioners and managers who provide services to adults in the community; focus is on resilience and is strong on behavioural responses, the need for psycho-social support, good lists of what managers, and professionals, can do to support wellbeing; includes a particularly helpful list of what we should also avoid doing.

Quick guide: Self-care for social workers during COVID-19
This quick guide is designed to support social workers with ideas and strategies for self-care.

Guidance to help social workers respond to COVID-19
Scottish Social Services Council
Resources aimed at new or redeployed workers in adult social care.

Leading in a crisis: using your leadership capability and supporting others in times of uncertainty
Scottish Social Services Council

Blog: COVID-19: why compassionate leadership matters in a crisis
The King's Fund

Leading through COVID-19: supporting health and care leaders in unprecedented times
The King's Fund
Comprehensive collection of resources for managers and leaders

How to lead through a crisis
Center for Creative Leadership

Supporting positive mental health and wellbeing through compassionate leadership
Scottish National Wellbeing Hub
Collection of resources for social work managers on psychological first aid modelling and supporting positive mental health and wellbeing through compassionate leadership.

The psychological needs of health care staff as a result of the coronavirus pandemic
British Psychological Society
High level guidance for leaders and managers of health and care services who need to consider the wellbeing needs of all healthcare staff (not just clinical staff) during COVID-19; strong on leadership, understanding psychological responses and providing psychological care and recovery.

Developing emotional resilience and wellbeing: a practical guide for social workers
Community Care Inform Guide
Not COVID specific; aimed at social workers, this is an academic look at organisational and individual resilience and the necessary competences.

Building your own resilience, health and wellbeing
Skills for Care
Practical resource (more like a workbook) for anyone working in care which includes tests, tasks and exercises to assess and build resilience.

Greater resilience, better care: a guide for adult social care managers to help them to reduce work-related stress and build the resilience of staff
Skills for Care
Not COVID-specific but a useful guide for managers; covers stress, resilience and good organisational development (OD) practice; presumes a level of org/OD capability which small and medium sized enterprises may not have.

Developing resilience in practice: examples from adult social care employers
Skills for Care
Excellent practical resource pack for managers with lots of material for managers to work on alongside staff on mental health and wellbeing issues, including signs that someone may be struggling, and practical exercises

Guidance for the support and wellbeing of adult social workers and social care professionals in a pandemic crisis which majors on resilience
Skills for Care

The top ten messages for supporting healthcare staff during the COVID-19 pandemic includes a section on stress and psychosocial resilience
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Contains section on stress and psycho-social resilience.

Materials to support health and care workers (and their families) affected by COVID-19
Greater Manchester Resilience Hub and Pennine Care NHS Trust

Some sources of support are Greater Manchester specific but there is a lot of open source content including a Buddy guide (pairing or grouping individuals to look out for and help each other), a check-in guide and prompts for a four-step end-of-shift debrief.

Psychological wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic – guidance for managers and leaders
NHS England and NHS Improvement
Guidance for managers and leaders; useful aide memoire and some tips and sources of further advice and support.

Psychological wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic – guidance for staff
NHS England and NHS Improvement

Bereavement resources for the social care workforce
Aimed at social care workers who have lost a loved one, colleague or person who uses services during COVID-19, this is mainly signposting to range of bereavement support sources

Giving bad news: a framework for health and social care professionals
NHS England and NHS Improvement
Aimed at health and social care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic; materials have been reviewed by clinicians and can be used to support training for communication about other diagnoses and challenges beyond COVID-19

Dealing with death and grief: Dying Matters
Hospice UK
Not COVID-specific, aimed at anyone experiencing grief and/or bereavement

Free online chat for grieving or bereaved people
Grief Chat
A free online chat with a qualified bereavement counsellor is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm.

Dealing with death and grief: dying matters
Hospice UK
Practical resources for social workers includes support and tips about death,dying and grief; includes dealing with sudden death and talking with children about dying.

Dying matters
Dying Matters is a coalition of individual and organisational members across England and Wales, which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life.

Words of support for those who are facing bereavement during the pandemic
NHS Recovery College
Some very simple but helpful words to support those who can’t be with a loved one when they die.

NHS Bereavement Helpline
0 800 2600 400 is a free helpline offering guidance, support and advice to families dealing with loss and grief at the death of a loved one during the pandemic. The helpline is open daily from 8am to 8pm.

Coronavirus, bereavement and grief
Cruse Bereavement Care
The helpline 0808 808 1677 is not COVID-specific. Go to the Cruse website for helpline hours; and additional COVID-specific resources.

Webinar: Managing bereavement for managers in registered care settings
Skills for Care
Aimed at managers in registered care settings and looks at managing bereavement in workplace settings and how managers can support, and be supported, when dealing with loss

Webinar: Understanding types of loss and grief on support mechanisms teams and organisations in social care can put in place to support their workforce facing bereavement and loss
Research in Practice (RiPfA)
Focus is on support mechanisms that teams and organisations in the social care sector can put in place to support their workforce facing bereavement and loss during and after the current COVID-19 pandemic; good section on ‘disenfranchised grief‘ which may be experienced by social care workers .

Practical tips for dealing with bereavement during COVID-19

Bereavement during the pandemic: support for those who can’t be with family or friends
Recovery College

Guide for social workers : Support with death, dying and bereavement during COVID-19
Scottish Social Services Council
Aimed at social workers experiencing death, dying and bereavement, both in their own and their professional lives. Includes videos and resources for social workers to support self-care, empathy and resilience.

Traumatic loss
Cruse Bereavement Care
Helpful summary of the issues arising from a person dying in traumatic circumstances.

Tips from an international panel of experts to help mitigate the risks from experiences of distressing or traumatic events
MindED (HEE, DHSC and DfE)
This guidance warns against intrusive, well-meaning attempts to make people relive a traumatic incident (‘psychological debriefing’) immediately afterwards which can increase the risk of later PTSD. It recommends consideration of ‘Schwartz rounds’ as a mechanism for regular team based operational debriefing/decompression

Free online e-learning training on trauma and recovery
Recovery College
Requires registration

Bereavement and trauma support line: 0 300 303 4434
Hospice UK
All calls are confidential; the service is available seven days a week, between 8am and 8pm. A referral is not required. Offers trained counsellors and support for those whose wellbeing has been affected by witnessing traumatic deaths as part of their work.

Advice for managers and organisations supporting social service workers
Scottish Social Services Council
Responding to distress in social service workers; includes principles of psychological first aid slides, a video, and practical help for people who are caring for others at this stressful time. Focus is on trauma-informed practice.

Coronavirus and isolation: supporting yourself and your colleagues
Mind and others
Resources on coronavirus and wellbeing, working well from home under self-quarantine, supporting mental health while working from home, and guides to wellness action plans

Video: Employers: coronavirus and mental health
Video for managers/employers on supporting staff wellbeing and those who may be working very differently during the pandemic.

Managing feelings about lockdown easing
Useful summary, tips and sources of further support for coping with concerns about the easing of lockdown.

Transitioning back to work after lockdown

Returning to the workplace after the COVID-19 lockdown: a toolkit
Society of Occupational Medicine
Comprehensive and detailed toolkit providing advice for employers and employees about returning to work after COVID-19; offers a framework and guiding principles plus advice for specific situations and risk assessment templates.

Coronavirus resources
Society of Occupational Medicine

Work-related stress and how to tackle it
Aimed at employers; not COVID-specific but HSE has helpful sections on stress, signs and symptoms, structured approaches to talking to employees about stress, stress risk assessments and a tackling stress workbook for managers.

Health and wellbeing conversation resources for staff.
NHS Employers
Aimed at managers/employers, this takes a structured approach to talking with staff about a COVID-19 risk assessment and building insight into how the staff member is feeling, and create a safe environment to raise concerns.

Every Mind Matters advice, practical tips and to help look after mental health and wellbeing including stress, anxiety, low mood and sleep problems
Has a dedicated COVID-19 section as well as sections for ‘mind’ and ‘body’

NHS in Mind
NHS in Mind is a set of techniques designed for NHS staff to combat anxiety, panic and fatigue during COVID-19. This open access resource includes tutorial videos and recorded exercises designed to help manage the heightened emotions and feelings experienced during the current crisis.

Coronavirus resources
Collection of useful tips, advice and links to articles about dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic for both professionals and the public.

Tips from an international panel of experts to help mitigate the risks from experiences of distressing or traumatic events
This guidance warns against intrusive, well-meaning attempts to make people relive a traumatic incident (‘psychological debriefing’) immediately afterwards which can increase the risk of later PTSD. It recommends consideration of ‘Schwartz rounds’ as a mechanism for regular team based operational debriefing/decompression.

Free online e-learning training on trauma and recovery
Recovery College
Requires log in.

Online courses for mental health training
Mental Health First Aid England
Open to individuals and organisations. Training is not free; prices vary between £75 and £300.

COVID-19: Psychological First Aid
FutureLearn and PHE
Flexible free e-learning training aimed at frontline or essential workers and volunteers dealing with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic; requires registration to access.

MindEd is a free educational resource on children and young people's mental health for all adults
MindED offers free e-learning for those working with children and young people, including parents and carers; is not COVID-specific but applicable across health, social care, education, criminal justice and community settings.

Free e-learning courses
Coping during the pandemic
Coping during the pandemic young people (13-18)
Coping during the pandemic (children seven-12)
NHS Recovery College
Not all are COVID-specific but these are free, open access e-learning courses on a range of topics including coping during the pandemic, lifestyle and wellbeing and trauma; requires registration to access.

Homeworking resources includes Coronavirus: supporting yourself and your team, Supporting colleagues to stay mentally healthy in unusual working conditions, Managing remote teams in challenging times, Managing mental health in changing business models, Performance Energy: help maintain your wellbeing through COVID-19
Mind and others
A collection of resources from various sources to support people who are homeworking, perhaps for the first time during COVID-19.

Working well from home under self-quarantine for coronavirus
Free, basic guide with tips and support suggestions for people working from home, perhaps for the first time. Leapers supports the mental health of freelancers and self-employed workers.

Seven simple tips to tackle working from home
General tips for anyone working from home.

Active Mobile Working
Tips to stay active while home-based or at a PC for long periods.

Supporting remote and online supervision during COVID-19
Research in Practice (RiPfA)
Article for people undertaking remote professional practice supervision.

Protecting home workers, including those at home during COVID-19
Collection of resources with a section on lone working without supervision, display screen equipment, mental health and stress.

Managing the well-being of remote workers podcast transcript
Thirty minute podcast for managers/ employers about having conversations to support the mental and physical well-being of their remote teams and what to consider as they plan for an eventual return to the workplace.

Mental Health in the workplace
Series of fact sheets for managers/employers; not COVID-specific.

Advice for care workers on managing mental health amid the coronavirus outbreak
Care Home Insight
Short article summarising World Health Organisation advice on looking after frontline care workers

Coping with going into work during coronavirus
Mind and others
Aimed at key workers,includes dealing with difficult feelings during COVID-19, stress, and sources of further support.

Our Frontline: 24/7 free helpline for frontline key workers
Samaritans, Mind and partners
Includes free information and one-to-one support For social care workers. To talk to a trained volunteer by text: FRONTLINE to 85258 any time; to talk by phone call 0300 131 7000/ 0800 069 6222 from 7am to 11pm. Aimed at NHS and social care workers; includes free one-to-one support, by phone or text, from trained volunteers, plus resources, tips and ideas to look after mental health.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
Guidance for small businesses on reopening safely; tends to be more geared to small businesses with premises and staff rather than people who may be sole traders working from home; has a good COVID-19 health and safety checklist,carrying out a risk assessment,and how to reassure customers your small business is COVID-19 secure. The section on bringing furloughed staff back to work is particularly useful.

How to support employee wellbeing during COVID-19

A Guide for Small Businesses to mental health in the workplace
Checklist on employee wellbeing; the FSB has other employment-related advice for small business.Advice and tips on how small business owners and the self-employed can approach mental health in the workplace.

Coronavirus guidance and advice for the self-employed
Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE)

Report of impact of COVID-19 on freelancers and the self-employed
IPSE research indicates a high level of concern over COVID-19 impacts on freelancers and small businesses.

Mental health for small workplaces
Elearning and resources; Mind also has a good section on freelancers and COVID.

Supporting staff that regularly work alone: a guide for adult social care workers
Skills for Care
The guidance is not COVID-specific.

Lone working: Protect those working alone
Guide for employers on managing stress, mental health and wellbeing in lone workers. Not COVID-specific but includes tips for best practice under key headings such as recruitment and retention, planning the workload, learning and development, health and safety, and supporting mental health and wellbeing.

Coronavirus - protecting your mental wellbeing
Carers UK

Coronavirus (COVID-19) forum
Carers UK
Guidance on coronavirus and a place for carers to share concerns and support.

Provides support for carers during the coronavirus crisis; and shares how other carers are finding ways of coping, including ‘Virtual Cuppas’ where carers talk about how they’re coping and how they deal with any challenges. Carers can also book person to person phone calls.

Mental wellbeing in the time of COVID-19
Shared Lives Plus
Resources for Shared Lives carers during COVID-19

Video: Top tips for managing anxiety and providing structure
Tips to help carers manage anxiety and provide structure during this particularly challenging period.

Up to nine months free mental health support with anxiety, stress or depression for people in work
Able Futures in partnership with DWP
There is an eligibility check which may put some people off.

Free access to work mental health support service
Able Futures
Advice on supporting staff with a mental health condition, tool kits, specialist support, access to Disability Confident learning events.

Supporting mental health in the workplace
General advice for employers/managers

Promoting positive mental health in the workplace
General advice for employers/managers; includes a Guide, case studies and further sources of support.

Mental health at work
Excellent set of resources including toolkits, articles, case examples

Talking toolkit: preventing work-related stress
Not COVID-specific but sets out practical improvements managers can make to reduce work-related stress.

Management standards
Not COVID-specific but sets out practical improvements managers can make to reduce work-related stress.

Please also note that by including these resources, the LGA does not endorse or recommend any particular product, though many trusted names can be found in the resource directory. We are aware there may be excellent products we have missed so please let us know if we should add anything. The speed and pace at which most of these resources were developed means that it has not been possible to road-test or peer review any of them.

New material is constantly being developed so please bear this in mind when using these resources. If you come across anything you think we should know about, please email [email protected].