Mental wellbeing

This is a stressful time, when you might have lots of demands on you from both work and home, or you might be worried about your family or friends.

This is a stressful time, when you might have lots of demands on you from both work and home, or you might be worried about your family or friends. The information here should help, whether it’s finding a new app or coping strategy, help with sleep or someone to talk to.

We are all human and reaching out for help and support is good active coping. Do get in touch if you can’t find what you need.


If you feel that you need urgent support right now, please reach out for support and advice. There are several options to help you in a crisis.

You can contact your GP and ask for an emergency appointment or GP call back. NHS mental health teams have crisis lines offering 24/7 support. If you live in County Durham, Darlington, the Tees Valley or North Yorkshire call 0800 051 6171 or visit this website. If you live in the Leeds area call 0800 183 1485 or visit this website. If you live in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale or Craven call 0800 952 1181 or visit this website. These numbers are open 24/7 and are free. Alternatively you can call NHS111 who will advise you.

The Samaritans phone line is also open 24/7 on 116 123. The NHS mental health hotline is available 7am-11pm every day on 0300 131 7000 or text FRONTLINE to 85258 for text support 24/7. The most important thing is to reach out to someone as a first step.

There is more advice from the NHS here on dealing with a mental health crisis

The Check-In campaign across West Yorkshire and Harrogate aims to prevent staff suicide and provides training, resources and signposting for support. You can find out more at the Check-in website here.

Self-Help Resources

The links here are for people who are interested in self-help options. They contain information, tips and strategies as well as “emotional first-aid” skills useful at any time but particularly in the current crisis.

The Butterfly Hug and 4 Elements techniques are for regular self-guided use to stabilise and prevent accumulative stress. They have been described as “hand washing for the mind” and are shown here in these instructional videos by Istcontact Traumatic Stress Relief (TSR) – COVID-19: Supporting Frontline Colleagues Remotely (

Many people find mindfulness practices helpful and the national mindfulness charity, Breathworks, has created a special area with free themed resources and very short S.O.S. practices for regular use The Quiet Place – for Healthcare Workers | Breathworks (

Panic attacks can often result from long term chronic stress or intense acute stress. Understanding what panic attacks are can help reduce some of the normal fears around them (and help to reduce their intensity). This video explains some of the physiology that makes them so frightening and some ways to move forward Cindy J. Aaronson: What causes panic attacks, and how can you prevent them? | TED Talk

These helpful short videos from South Tees NHS Trust introduce the Coronacoaster and offer some tips on grounding, mindful breathing and managing tricky emotions

Mood Juice offers lots of information and advice around difficult thoughts, feelings and actions with self help guides for stress, anxiety, depression, panic and sleep Mental health | NHS inform

A collection of short videos designed to give you simple tools and techniques to reduce stress wherever you are and with whatever little time you have can be found here NHS England » Finding calm amongst the chaos

Recovery Colleges are a great resource with a range of online (and some face-to-face) courses on mental health, wellbeing and resilience. You can log in and complete any course in your own time at your own pace. There are several colleges with different resources.

The Recovery College Online Recovery College Online

The Leeds and York Recovery College Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust -About the Leeds Recovery College (

The Humber, Coast and Vale Recovery College NHS Humber Recovery and Wellbeing College (

Employee Assistance Programme

Our Employee Assistance Programme offers comprehensive support that is free and confidential to all staff. The service is operated for us by Vivup, a leading UK-based provider of staff wellbeing services and benefits.

It offers:

  • 24/7 telephone support with qualified counsellors for emotional, personal or work-related issues
  • Six sessions of face-to-face or virtual counselling with fully qualified and experienced counsellors
  • Self-help workbooks for a range of problems, a debt advice line and other apps and resources
  • Telephone-based support for managers

You don’t need to ask your manager, Occupational Health or Staff Wellbeing to use Vivup, just call 03303 800658 (or Freephone 0800 023 9324) and you can speak to a professional counsellor in confidence. You can also register on the website at More information is available on our intranet here.

If you have any problems or would like to give any feedback about the service please email [email protected]

Occupational Health and Wellbeing Service

Our in-house service provides free advice and support around mental health and wellbeing needs, which may include signposting to helpful services, self-help information or individual psychological support. The service is confidential and notes are kept separately from your staff records.

Our team includes a range of health professionals with experience in mental health in wellbeing including nursing and medical staff and a Clinical Psychologist. The team can offer:

Clinical Psychology: Our Clinical Psychologist for Staff Wellbeing offers:

• 1:1 ‘Check-Ins’ for colleagues to be able to think about their experiences in a safe space and consider what support might be most helpful

• Consultation slots for team leaders/managers to think about how best to support themselves and their teams

• Targeted wellbeing talks and workshops for teams

• Team ‘Check-Ins’ for groups of staff to come together to safely reflect upon their experiences and work and plan for going forward

Referrals can be made using the self-referral form, which can be found here:

Mental Health Champions

Our Mental Health Champions programme is a new peer support based scheme to promote positive mental health, raise awareness of mental health issues, challenge stigma and encourage everyday conversations about mental wellbeing. You can find out more information in the Colleague Health and Wellbeing section of this webpage or on the intranet from Trust devices here.

NHS staff wellbeing hubs

Staff wellbeing hubs have been set up to provide healthcare colleagues with rapid access to local evidence-based mental health services and support where needed. The hub offer is confidential and free of charge for all healthcare staff (including students) from all services and settings, and regardless of whether you are dealing directly with Covid-19 patients or not.

How do I Access Support?

The hubs can offer you a clinical assessment and access to the support that you need, such as talking therapy or counselling. It is separate and confidential from your organisation. You can self-refer or refer a colleague (with their consent). The aim is to make it easy to access the support you need wherever you are and whatever the issue. Most colleagues should contact the Humber, Coast and Vale Resilience Hub, but if you are in the North East or Northumbria you may prefer to contact the North East and North Cumbria Hub.

Humber Coast and Vale Resilience Hub

Staff Helpline – Join Our Journey

The national Coronavirus NHS staff resilience hub offers a collection of curated mental health and wellbeing information and resources. This will help frontline staff to manage your mental health and wellbeing.

NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression

Local NHS Talking Therapies services (previously known as ‘IAPT’ or Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) are easy to access. They offer evidence-based treatment for depression, anxiety, trauma and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

While most people won’t need to access psychological therapies, it is important to get help if you need it. Problems with low mood, worry and anxiety can make it difficult for us to cope with life’s daily demands and accessing help quickly can make a difference. You can self-refer via the website or be referred by your GP if you prefer. You will then be contacted to find out what help is most suitable for you.

If you have been exposed to highly stressful, traumatic or frightening experiences at work you may be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Symptoms include reliving what has happened through vivid dreams or flashbacks, feeling very anxious, angry, irritable and guilty. Some people will feel low in mood, have trouble sleeping and have physical symptoms. For many people these symptoms will improve over time, but if they don’t improve after one month, you can be referred, or self-refer for psychological therapy.

Click here to find services local to you.

Bereavement support

The NHS Bereavement Support Line, run by Hospice UK, is free to access 8am-8pm 7 days a week and offers support with bereavement and wellbeing issues relating to loss experienced through work. You will be offered up to three sessions with the same counsellor and onward signposting or support. Call 0300 303 4434.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate grief and loss support service is for anyone experiencing any form of grief and loss, or those worried about losing someone. Practical and emotional support and advice is available from 8am-8pm, 7 days a week via Freephone number 0808 1963833 or online chat.

  • The NHS Bereavement Support Line, run by Hospice UK, is free to access 8am-8pm 7 days a week and offers support with bereavement and wellbeing issues relating to loss experienced through work. You will be offered up to three sessions with the same counsellor and onward signposting or support. Call 0300 303 4434.
  • Grief & Loss Support across the #teamHDFT footprint:
  • Vivup our Employee Assistance Programme can also provide:
    • Telephone support for a range of issues including bereavement. Find out how to call here (include quick link to click up to EAP information)
    • A self-help CBT work book for ‘Bereavement’ here

Wellbeing apps

NHS colleagues have been given free access to a number of wellbeing apps to support them. These include Headspace for mindfulness and meditation (free until December 2023) and Unmind for evidence based tools for stress, sleep and wellbeing (also free until December 2023). For more information please click here.

Our Chaplaincy department

The Chaplaincy Department offers pastoral, spiritual and religious care and support to patients, their relatives, friends, carers, and members of staff throughout the Trust. Click here to find out more and for their contact details.

HDFT Library 

The Reading Well scheme helps you understand and manage your health and wellbeing using helpful reading. The books are chosen by health experts and people living with the conditions covered.

The Reading Well booklists cover:

  • Mental health
  • Young people’s mental health
  • Children
  • Long term conditions
  • Dementia
  • Mood boosting

The books can be loaned from your local library and many are available as e-books and audiobooks.

Several mental health and self-help books are also available via the Trust Library and Information Service which is open to all staff and students of HDFT and HIF. Books can be borrowed in person or sent to your work address.

Recovery College Online

The Recovery College Online provides a range of online educational courses on mental health and wellbeing, including a Coping with the Pandemic course. There is a section dedicated to children, young people and their parents. You can log in at the top of the page on the link and complete any course in your own time at your own pace.

Support for specific staff groups and external support

There are a range of mental health support services offering specially-designed talking-based support for health professionals and all staff employed in the NHS and care services.

Some are targeted at particular staff groups, such as doctors and dentists, nurses, intensive care staff, pharmacists and ambulance staff (please see below for links). Others are open to all.

Hear to Help, from Just ‘B’ by St Michael’s Hospice, Harrogate

Do you need a moment to talk? Hear to Help is a helpline providing support and advice to those who are feeling anxious or struggling with their emotional wellbeing around the Coronavirus outbreak. Available to children, young people and adults across the Harrogate District, 8am-8pm, seven days a week. Call 01423 856799 or click here for further details.

Our Frontline

Our Frontline offers round-the-clock one-to-one support by call or text from trained volunteers plus resources and ideas to look after your mental health. Text FRONTLINE to 85258 any time or call 0800 069 6222 (7am-11pm free).

Frontline 19

Frontline 19 is a free, independent, confidential UK based nationwide service offering psychological support to all people working in the NHS and frontline services. Sessions range from a 20 minute debrief to ongoing weekly support via video or phone.

Project 5: 1-to-1 support

Project 5 offers a free wellbeing support service to health and social care workers. You can book up to three sessions of coaching or wellbeing support via video or phone with an experienced coach or therapist.

Association of Christian Counsellors

ACC offers up to eight sessions of free counselling via video or phone for NHS staff (both clinical and support staff) working in Covid-19 hospital settings and paramedics/ambulance staff. The service is open and inclusive.

Duty to Care

Duty to Care provides free online sessions with CBT therapists, mindfulness teachers, coaches and a range of other therapists to improve and sustain the mental health and wellbeing of healthcare professionals.

Doctors and Dentists

Junior doctors & dentists

Health Education England Yorkshire and Humbers (HEE YH) funds several learner support options. Take Time is based in Leeds and offers confidential face-to-face, video and telephone appointments specifically for junior doctors and dentists working across Yorkshire and the Humber (HEE YH). Visit the website for a self-referral form or email [email protected]

Practitioner Health (England & Scotland) is a free NHS service for doctors and dentists (and some other health professionals) with mental illness and addiction problems who are working or looking to return to clinical practice. They offer a confidential assessment and treatment service alongside other information and advice.

British Medical Association offers a confidential 24/7 counselling and peer support service (up to six sessions) for all doctors and medical students (regardless of BMA membership) and their partners and dependents.

British Dental Association offers a 24/7 counselling and emotional support helpline for BDA members.


Royal College of Nursing offers telephone counselling service for RCN members, whether work related or personal.

Intensive Care staff

Intensive Care Society offers access up to six sessions of psychological intervention for anyone working in intensive care.


The Listening Friends telephone service offers pharmacists (including trainees and students) the opportunity to talk in confidence to trained volunteers about any stresses in their work or home life.