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The second wave of COVID-19 has hit all departments, wards and staff extremely hard and we recognise more than ever that mental health and wellbeing is vital to being an effective workforce. So please remember that wellbeing support is available to you all by contacting our Occupational Health Team via email on or the Spiritual Care Team on 01254 733632 (83632) or 01254 733001 (83001).

As the darkest evenings approach this winter, we are reminded how important it is to take care of our mental wellbeing. One of our Foundation Year (FY2) Doctors, Bethan Gay talks about the new found strength she has found by seeking support when she needed it the most in this inspiring blog:

I’m one of the FY2 Doctors here at ELHT… I was working on the medical wards during the first wave of COVID and then moved onto our Critical Care Unit (CCU) for the second wave. I love my job and try to give it my all but I have struggled recently.

I began to feel more anxious at the end of October and had a week where I was constantly on the verge of tears at work. I am lucky that the CCU is so well supported and some members of the team who noticed the change in my behaviour, asked if I was ok.

My colleagues encouraged me to access the help provided at ELHT by David, one of our Chaplains and Counsellors and Jasper our Therapy dog. Some of the consultants mentioned that they had attended a session together and found it useful to talk about their feelings. I would have been a lot slower accessing David’s support had I not been given that encouragement. I think it is important for colleagues in other specialities to know that support is there and how informal it can be.

I asked a few colleagues working on CCU if they would be interested in joining me for a chat with David and to pet Jasper for an hour – two of my colleagues decided to join via Teams, and one attended with me in person. We were provided with refreshments and the comfort of Jasper to make us feel at ease. We just talked openly about how we were feeling, in a safe and comfortable environment.

David directed the conversation and we were all given the opportunity to talk about what had been happening in CCU recently; the amount of death we were seeing, our feelings of helplessness and the relentless nature of the work. It was extremely comforting to know that we were all feeling similar emotions and to normalise the feelings of futility and guilt. To understand that this is a completely acceptable reaction to the stress that we are experiencing was invaluable.

I think a lot of people believe that accessing these sessions is a sign of weakness or that it shows something is wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s a sign of personal strength. Instead of running away from problems and stresses by taking time off work or completely breaking down – you can address them. And this is really important.

I know the friends who came with me were there mostly to support me, but by the end of the session, they were all glad to have listened to what the group had to say. They even realised some of their own emotions that they were feeling, even if they were sub-conscious.

If you can spend an hour having a cup of tea, chatting and getting to know the people you work with, then that’s a win.