Posted on: 15 March 2021

The Keeping Well Service for North West London has been shortlisted for this year’s National Health Service Journal Value Awards (HSJ) in the Mental Health Service Redesign Initiative category for supporting staff wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The hub was one of the first in the country to be set up as an immediate response to the pandemic to support the psychological wellbeing of NHS and social care staff including volunteers, London Ambulance service, staff providing care to others in the community and in care and residential homes.

Since the service launched in June 2020, Keeping Well has received:

  • Over 800 referrals
  • 72 per cent average recovery rate – This compares to a national target to achieve 50% recovery
  • 14,989 webpage views
  • Almost 3,000 self-help articles read

Most referrals are from people needing support with anxiety and depression.

Ruth Dennis, Head of Psychology at West London NHS Trust said: 

“We’re really proud to be shortlisted in the Mental Health Service Redesign Initiative category. The Keeping Well service was set up very quickly in response to the Covid outbreak as it was clear the pandemic was going to have a lasting impact on the mental health of NHS and care workers.

“We anticipate demand for the service will continue to grow and hope that colleagues from across North West London in need of psychological support get in touch.”  

Dr Ryan Kemp, Director of Therapies at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, said

“We know that many of our colleagues are experiencing extraordinary levels of stress and trauma. If you need someone to talk to our trained wellbeing professionals are here to help.

“These evidence-based therapies work and the live chat allows anyone to talk anonymously and confidentially to a trained clinician in real time. We hope that having the opportunity to ask questions in this way will help more people come forward for support.”

A partnership between Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust and West London NHS Trust, Keeping Well is a staff support pathway that uses the well-established talking therapies workforce across the eight north west London boroughs (Harrow, Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hillington, Hounslow, K&C and Westminster).

Individuals can access flexible immediate advice and support, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, with a trained mental health professional through the dedicated website which offers rapid ways to access support through:

  • a live online chat with a wellbeing professional
  • self help resources with webinars/guides/apps
  • the option to request a call back
  • a number to call to speak to someone directly
  • an online self referral form

Feedback from the service has been very positive:

“I have learnt so much about myself and compiled strategies in managing complex situations and working through past trauma. My counsellor has been exceptional, has utilised strategies to explore traumatic experiences and supported me find new ways of managing difficult emotions”.

“I cannot thank my therapist enough for her kindness and understanding. The tools she taught me and the mindful changes of thought and breathing exercises are very useful. Most of all she made me feel worthy and I’m beginning to have respect for myself.  My confidence has grown, thanks to her, and I will continue to use the tools to enhance my life.”

“I had the most amazing journey with my therapist from start to finish. It was very daunting at first but very gently and over time the connection and understanding we shared was exceptional.”
“I had a really positive experience, which I didn't expect. Didn't think just half an hour would be enough. But actually the different tools mean I can do things for myself, and not depend on the therapist”.

“Talking with the therapist allowed me to break down what was causing me to feel certain ways and how it was affecting me. The therapist talked through techniques which could help me and allowed me to take the time I needed.”

The winners will be selected following a rigorous, second stage of judging ahead of the HSJ Value Awards 2021 awards ceremony at the end of June.