Swansea Bay University Health Board pilots staff mental health programme

Swansea Bay University Health Board pilots staff mental health programme

Swansea Bay University Health Board (SBUHB), in collaboration with Swansea University and Performing Medicine, announce the success of a pilot programme to improve staff mental health and wellbeing. The pilot focused on self-care and stress management for staff working in mental health services and the learning disabilities unit in SBUHB.

SBUHB identified the wards in which staff experienced high levels of stress, across three hospitals; with more than 80 health professionals participating in the programme and its assessment. Delivered by Performing Medicine, specialists in arts-based healthcare training and research, the interactive workshops encourage healthcare professionals to think about, practise and demonstrate high-quality compassionate care.

The results of the pilot programme strongly demonstrate that it has helped staff cope better with work-related stress, be more confident in their work, and communicate with patients and colleagues in a more engaged and attentive way. The reported outcomes also record an increased awareness into the importance of making time for self-care, and how healthcare workers own wellbeing, non-verbal behaviour, pace and posture affect other people.

There is consistent evidence that NHS staff experience significant stress as a result of the conditions and contexts in which they work, which has been further accentuated during the pandemic, and is reflected in an increase in hospital staff absences across the UK due to mental health issues.

Prue Thimbleby, arts in health co-ordinator at SBUHB said, “Stress impacts the quality of life for healthcare professionals both in and out of work, as well as the quality of their care. The Health Board identified that improving staff wellbeing was a high priority and confirmed that mental health staff recorded the highest levels of absenteeism. The impact of this pilot project, led by Performing Medicine, is remarkable and has resulted in significant improvements and meaningful, sustainable change for our frontline staff.”

Jo Mclean, executive director at Performing Medicine said, “As Covid-19 accelerates collaboration between the arts and healthcare, arts-based interventions to increase staff mental health and wellbeing are increasingly being used in the NHS. High levels of stress among healthcare workers is common, and Performing Medicine is very proud to collaborate with Swansea Bay University Health Board and Swansea University to support healthcare professionals to continue to deliver their invaluable work by helping to improve their mental health and wellbeing.”

Following the successful pilot programme, SBUHB has engaged Performing Medicine to deliver further sessions for staff who are struggling with the effects of the pandemic and the stress that it has created.

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