NCL In Mind

In Mind logo

A wellbeing and mental health project to connect and support the North Central London health and social care workforce during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Hello, my name is Lydia Hartland-Rowe and this is the Daily Catch-up on Monday 6th April. For those of you who’ve come onto the webpage for the first time, this is just a quick check-in to say a little bit about what we are seeing in the ‘How Are You Today?’ survey, because we want to make sure that the podcasts and resources on the page remain connected to what’s going on for people. And because things keep changing for all of us, we’re really keen for you to keep doing the survey every time you come onto the page.

There are a few things to comment on after the weekend. One of the things that is coming through more strongly in the survey is how much people are reporting feeling stress, which alongside the ongoing need for rest and timeout, is not just worrying for now, but also something to watch out for over time and once the immediate crisis is over. We will be adding podcast and resource material this week that look at our reactions to stress and how to try and take care to look after ourselves now as a way of protecting against future reactions. It can be hard, when we are perhaps relying on will power and stamina, and the urge to make a difference in such an unsettling situation, to pause and take the time for self-care, but it could be crucial in helping  to make whatever comes after the current crisis more manageable.

We are also slowly seeing a few more people from key areas of work like GP practices, social care, and health care assistants starting to respond – and we’d like to see many more. If you have found it useful to have a look at the page, do let your co-workers know about it so that we can get the best possible picture of what is happening in such a complex system doing such difficult work. 


How Are You Today? 6 questions, taking less than 90 seconds

HAY Today is our weekly check in, asking How Are You Today? In the form of a really quick survey it will ask 6 questions which will help us understand what are the key issues and in what areas of the North Central London health and social care workforce. This is going to help inform what our podcasters talk about next week. Keep scrolling for the latest podcasts.  

Create your own user feedback survey

NCL In Mindcast - please have a listen

This is a regular series of mini-podcasts from wellbeing and mental health practitioners within this network. They will be directly responding to what is coming out of out the ‘HAY Today’ check in survey so your main concerns week by week, as well as offering more specific presentations for targeted staff groups, for example social workers.

Laverne Antrobus is a Consultant Child and Educational Psychologist at the Tavistock and Portman.  In this podcast Laverne is talking about the challenges for key workers and family life, where children (and parents) may have all sorts of feelings about a situation where work might be felt to be an unsafe place, and where school has suddenly become  a very different place. She talks about the range of feelings that there might be  for both parents and children, and has some ideas about how to help children to manage and how to look after yourself as a parent, and a key worker in this difficult and constantly changing situation.

NCL In Mind have created a help sheet for keyworkers who are parents that includes information on how to recognise the difficult questions, supporting your children and supporting yourself.

Here are some additional resources to accompany Laverne's podcast that you may find useful

Supporting children and young people with worries about COVID-19

Emerging Minds provide guidance for parents and carers and professionals working with children and young people during this time of uncertainty, including some of their favourite links

Responding to the coronavirus: resources for mental health and wellbeing

Heads Together have published a free toolkit with resources and tips to help address anxiety arising from these challenging times. The toolkit includes a booklet to support schools, videos to provide practical guidance and tips to schools, parents and carers about coronavirus (COVID-19) and mental health, activities to ease anxiety that can be done at school or at home, and other helpful advice, helplines and resources for adults and children.

Andrew Cooper is a Family Therapist and a Professor of Social Work at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. In this podcast he talks about one of the most difficult things that any of us face in the current situation, the impact of living and working with death, a particular challenge with Covid-19 even for very experienced NHS and social care staff. He brings some thoughts together about what can make our contact with death in this context so hard, and has some suggestions and practical examples of what can work well in trying to look after ourselves and each other when facing the emotional labour of caring for those at the end of their life. Although it is true that some Covid-19 patients die alone, it is a painful decision made on a case by case basis, and hard to think about and to be witness to.

Here are some resources to accompany Andrew’s podcast that you may find useful:

Advice for professionals about having difficult conversations

This document supports clinicians in how to have difficult conversations about dying with patients who have COVID-19 using the REDMAP Framework: Ready, Expect, Diagnosis, Matters, Action, Plan. 

Talking to People about Dying during the Pandemic

This guidance has been developed for mental health workers to navigate the topics of dying, grief and bereavement when working in inpatient or community settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

COVID-19:  resources for bereavement organisations

The Childhood Bereavement Network provide resources for bereavement services during the pandemic, including adapting services, managing resources, and supporting grieving children and families the outbreak.

COVID-19: supporting bereaved children and young people

The Childhood Bereavement Network provide guidance for adults supporting grieving children and young people during the outbreak of COVID-19.

Jane O’Rourke is a Yoga and Meditation Teacher, and a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist with Children, Young People and Families. She teaches Yoga4Trauma within the Trauma  Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Jane guides us through a 5 minute soothing sleep meditation aimed at helping you to get some rest, or to get to sleep.

In response to the suggestions we have been receiving from North Central London health and social care staff completing the ‘How Are You Today?’ survey we hope next week to be following up this first meditation with a podcast about sleep hygiene. In the meantime here are some helpful resources we have received from the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust to support you both professionally and personally.


Sleep Hygiene Tips

The Centre for Clinical Interventions have created a useful guide on sleep hygiene, with a range of helpful tips to manage sleep difficulties. 

Sleeping Problems: A self help guide

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust have created a self-help guide for anyone managing sleeping problems. Helpful tips are shared about overcoming sleep difficulties and maintaining good sleep habits.

Managing Insomnia and Sleep Problems

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Loughborough University have created a self-help programme for managing insomnia and sleep problems. 

Lorna Fortune is the Lead Psychologist for Psychiatric Liaison Services in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust. Here Lorna speaks about the value of Psychological First Aid (PFA) in this time of crisis, particularly for those of you working in acute settings providing physical care. A brief introduction to PFA is provided, the goal of which is to help stabilise and mitigate distress by supporting people in the midst of a crisis situation.

Nicky is an Associate Professor (Practice) at Middlesex University, where she is Director of Teaching and Learning for Mental Health and Social Work. She is registered as a Specialist Practitioner and is a Senior Teaching Fellow She is also a co-director of the Centre for Coproduction in Mental Health and Social Care. Here Nicky talks directly to student nurses as they navigate their way through their training during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Lydia Hartland-Rowe is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and Portfolio Manager for Psychological Therapies for the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Here Lydia talks about the difficult decisions we are making as a health and social care worker during Coronavirus outbreak and the emotions this may trigger

Dr Jo Stubley, Consultant Medical Psychotherapist, Psychoanalyst and Lead Clinician for the Tavistock Trauma Service. Here Jo presents a brief introduction to trauma in relation to the current pandemic.

Paul Dugmore, Consultant Social Worker at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Paul speaks to those of us working in children’s social care, and how we can manage and look after ourselves as well as others, during these very difficult times.

Rachel Surtees is the director of strategy at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Rachel speaks to the many health and social care staff who are in corporate or support service roles, who may be finding it difficult to understand their roles during this time of crisis.  

We are a team of wellbeing and mental health practitioners working within this North Central London network, with the Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust as our base. Together we all have extensive experience of working within and for the health and social care workforce.

NCL In Mind is relevant to anyone who works in health and social care in North Central London. So this covers the 12 Provider Trusts, primary care, social care and commissioning.

Whilst we can offer specific support for certain areas of the system, what you see on this website is directed at every staff member. We believe that everybody matters. All of our staff, regardless of job title or professional background, are critical to supporting our efforts to respond to covid-19 and keep our health and social care systems running.

We have set up a two way platform with you to ensure that we keep in touch and offer what’s most useful to you. Our team of wellbeing and mental health practitioners will also be reviewing the resources and sharing good practice.

So we invite you to visit this page every couple of days to see any new information and resources that are coming through and let us know what you are feeling right now.


We have been overwhelmed with offers of support for NCL In Mind. The main ways you can help for this project:

If you are a Mental Health and wellbeing practitioner: Offer your time to contribute to the Mindcast by sending an email to stating your area of expertise.

If you are a staff member working in one of the organisations in this system: Spread the word about this project, keep participating in the surveys and encourage your colleagues to do the same. 

Stay connected

It is really important to stay connected at this time. Pressures of workload, difficult feelings, fatigue and being very busy can cause us to become disconnected from others and from ourselves. Staying connected can enable us to reduce the feelings of isolation, of being ground down and can help us to keep in touch with the value and meaning of our work.

Check in with yourself  - and ask for help when you need it

Under pressure we can lose touch with how we are. This might be because we are too busy and distracted from noticing the state we are in, or it might be because being in touch with how we are is difficult, or upsetting. We know that our emotional state can influence our behaviour and relationships, if we can notice how we are we are better able to look after ourselves and not act on these feelings.

Connect with others

Talking to others about how they are and how we are, is quite different to thinking alone. Talking with colleagues often reduces the sense of isolation, for example recognising that we are not the only one who feels like that, putting us back in touch with our relationships and the support within them.

Take 10

‘Take 10’ is a way of briefly checking in with yourself, it isn’t in depth and the idea is to keep it simple. In the time it takes to count slowly to 10, just notice how you are; notice your physical state (heart beat, muscle tension, physical sensations). Notice how you feel (relaxed, anxious, excited, angry etc.). Notice your thoughts (what is your mind busy with?). Having noticed the state that you are in, what do you need to do to look after yourself? Eat? Pause? Talk to someone? Have a break? 

For staff on the frontline – How Are You?

Claire Shaw, Lead Nurse for Nursing Practice Development and Research, Psychotherapist, and Head of Nursing for the Adult Forensic Service at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, presents tips and advice for frontline staff. 

Mental wellbeing while staying at home

Many people will be adapting to staying at home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Every Mind Matters have developed a useful resource with tips and advice on how to help you support your mental wellbeing while staying at home, ranging from queries about employment and benefits, to looking after your body and talking about your worries.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have released specific guidance including ‘do’s and don’ts’ on how to support the following groups of people regarding the COVID-19 outbreak:

o   General population

o   Healthcare workers

o   Team leaders or managers in health facility

o   Care providers for children

o   Older adults, care providers and people with underlying health conditions

o   People in isolation

Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have created a guide covering humane, supportive and practical support for professionals who are in direct contact with crisis events such as the many workers dealing with the impact of COVID-19. It provides a framework for supporting people in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities. This guide reflects the emerging science and international consensus on how to support people both socially and psychologically in the immediate aftermath of crisis events. This guide has been translated into 30 languages.

To contact the NCL In Mind team please email:

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