Covid-19 and mental health: Fellows’ case studies

Dan Farnworth (above) has been providing mental health support to health workers who have faced increased stress during the pandemic

Churchill Fellows are taking action against Covid-19 in a multitude of crucial areas, including working on measures to support people's mental health. Here are their latest activities and insights.

Michelle Clubb: education

Educational psychologist Michelle Clubb is providing support to schools and contributing to the psychological wellbeing of young people and teachers during Covid-19. This includes developing a leaflet for parents and staff outlining how to manage their wellbeing in response to Covid-19, and devising ways to offer support to staff and children in managing loss and bereavement during the current crisis. Michelle is drawing from her Churchill Fellowship, which explored psychological support in the aftermath of a crisis.

Jo Driscoll: young people

Mental Health Director Jo Driscoll is working with her colleagues at a sixth form centre to provide mental health and wellbeing support to students so that they continue to feel connected during lockdown. She has set up 'Wellbeing Wednesdays' where students are provided with ideas to support their wellbeing as well as being offered  a wellbeing appointment where they can receive virtual support. Jo has also helped to develop an 8-week online induction programme for new starters who will be joining the college in September so that they feel connected. Jo is also working on other packages of support for when they return. Jo is a 2020 Fellow and hasn't travelled yet. Her Fellowship topic will explore an integrated approach on returning to education following a crisis.

Dan Farnworth: health workers

Paramedic Dan Farnworth has been working on the frontline during the pandemic, providing emergency pre-hospital care for coronavirus patients. As Founder of Our Blue Light, he has also been providing mental health support to his fellow health workers who have faced increased stress during the pandemic. He was interviewed about this work on ITV Good Morning Britain. Dan's Fellowship explored supporting health and wellbeing in emergency and essential services.

Sangeeta Mahajan: health workers

Consultant Anaesthetist Sangeeta Mahajan is supporting the emotional wellbeing of her NHS colleagues at this difficult time through mentoring, coaching, sign-posting and setting up a group of volunteers available to talk at any time. She has also helped to design an online resource with NHS England and charity 4Mental Health, which suggests practical ideas to help settle the mind. She is drawing upon learnings from her Churchill Fellowship which explored suicide prevention and bereavement support.

Sharon McDonnell: bereavement 

Charity director Sharon McDonnell has been supporting people bereaved by suicide during the pandemic, via her organisation, Suicide Bereavement UK. With the reported rise in mental health problems during lockdown, Sharon is also organising a conference and seminar which will will explore the long-term impact of coronavirus on the wellbeing of frontline staff,  those who were hospitalised and those who have been bereaved during the pandemic. The seminar will take place on 19 November 2020. Sharon's Churchill Fellowship explored best practice in suicide bereavement. Read Sharon's Fellowship Report: Witnessing good practice in the field of suicide bereavement.

Vinny Romano: education

Paramedic Vinny Romano is preparing university student paramedics to work on the frontline through preparatory training, maintenance of their health and wellbeing, and learning relevant skills. He is using his Churchill Fellowship findings, which researched mental health and peer support for ambulance workers.

Fellows' activities on Covid-19

Covid-19 Action Plan

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