There are around 100,000 staff employed in the health and care sector across six southeast London boroughs. This includes hospital staff and those working in primary care and community health. More than 45,000 of these are employed in the social care sector – care homes and domiciliary care as well as local authorities.
Keeping Well is part of a national programme of psychological and wellbeing support offered to health and care staff, accessible via a digital platform with resources and online access to psychological support via a chat function embedded on a website and through intranets operated by the largest employers.
The largest organisations have well-established employee support and occupational health provision, while for those employed by independent or voluntary sector providers there is far less on offer.
We worked with South London and Maudsley NHS Trust to:
- Support the design of the Keeping Well service by helping to understand the wellbeing and mental health support needs of staff, particularly those working remotely or in smaller employers
- Promote the service through social media, community networks and staff communication channels to signpost people to the range of support on offer.
During the design phase, we engaged staff through a variety of online events and meetings to explore how they were coping with work pressures, what help they had had and what might help them in future, with a view to understanding what elements of the potential Keeping Well offer would be most useful for staff and the strategies most likely to encourage the use of the platform.
It was essential to hear the voices of Black and minority ethnic staff across all employers and social care staff, for whom less formal support is available and for whom job insecurity could lead to worries about needing to take time off work. The importance of sources of support that are culturally sensitive was underlined repeatedly.
In all, we spoke with more than 170 health and care staff in a range of front-line roles including domiciliary care staff, care home staff, registered care home managers, practice nurses and GP staff.
Following the launch of the service, we worked with employer communication teams to provide a toolkit to promote the programme and developed a social media campaign to encourage click-through.
Testing materials and developing credible messaging were essential and we tested alternatives to make sure we got it right.
As the campaign rolled out, uptake grew steadily until more than 8,000 people had visited Keeping Well during the first 12 weeks.
Based on our market research findings, we also developed an explainer video aimed at front-line care staff, a toolkit with leaflets, posters and digital materials for NHS communications teams, and helped in-house digital leads make the platform accessible via intranets in five NHS trusts.