New mental health service launched to support Sussex health and care staff

19 January 2021

A new mental health service is launched today (19 January 2021) for health and care staff across Sussex who are supporting our local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Staff in Mind is a confidential NHS service for health and care staff who may be experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties. It has been developed by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on behalf of Sussex Health and Care Partnership, an alliance that brings together all the NHS organisations and local councils that look after public health and social care across the county. The service is also available for staff employed by Sussex Partnership who work within Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

Funded by NHS England and Improvement, the service offers an independent, confidential and rapid mental wellbeing assessment. It also provides priority access to treatment for people who - for whatever reason - may be less likely to seek help or who may prefer not to access the occupational health and wellbeing support that is available where they work. 

Staff are being invited to complete an online self-assessment at to measure how they are feeling. They will be offered a more detailed follow-up assessment with a mental health practitioner, access to psychological treatment if they need it and an agreed follow-up to check on progress.

Psychologist and clinical director of Staff in Mind, Dr Juliet Couche, says:

“Health and care staff are consistently going above and beyond whilst caring for patients during Covid-19. They are working under huge, sustained pressure and are doing an incredible job. But they are not superheroes, they are human. 

"In order to help staff continue caring for the local communities we serve, we need to look after their mental health and wellbeing. An important part of this is encouraging them to seek psychological and emotional support when they need it. Staff in Mind is for every health and care staff member across Sussex, from Intensive Care Unit nurse to hospital porter.” 

The psychological impact of Covid-19 is demonstrated by data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which identified almost one in five adults (19.2%) were likely to be experiencing some form of depression during Covid-19, almost double the rate before the pandemic. Research evidence points to the risk of health care workers experiencing diagnosable symptoms of traumatic stress in the months ahead. A recently published survey by King’s College London that looked at staff working in nine intensive care units in England found nearly half reported symptoms of severe anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or problem drinking during the first wave of Covid-19.

A recent survey of 900 health and care staff across Sussex found that most (over 60%) have found their work both highly stressful and tiring over the last 6 months, and a third of this group (20% overall) reported feeling very stressed and tired.