The HSE is coordinating a Psychosocial Response Project Group to address the impact of the psychological and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
It will support the overall wellbeing, resilience and mental health of our population. The psychosocial impact of this pandemic will be different for everyone. Not everyone will need mental health support but a wide range of supports and services are available for those who do.
The focus of this work is to develop a framework for psychosocial structures and responses. This will be for the public and all healthcare workers in line with international best practice and evidence.
Priority groups requiring our particular attention include:
- people who have been bereaved during the pandemic
- healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly during these times
- more vulnerable groups of the general population.
Work to date
As referenced below, a variety of psychosocial response interventions are being delivered by the HSE and other funded services. The initial focus at the start of the pandemic is on mobilising psychological first aid and bereavement supports.
The Psychosocial Response work has to date:
- helped to align and mobilise a support helpline for health service staff,
- established dedicated support information on hse.ie
- delivered self-directed, innovative online support programmes
- enhanced access to therapy and mental health services.
Psychosocial Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic Report
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, both the HSE and our NGO partners have been working hard to provide mental and social wellbeing supports and services to our staff and to the many different communities in our society. This work, in conjunction with newly created online and enhanced national services, has managed to provide vital support to those that need it for the short –to-medium term.
The Psychosocial Response Group have now produced the, “HSE Psychosocial Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic” report. Commissioned by the Chief Operations Officer as chair of the HSE's Integrated National Operations Hub (INOH), this report examines how the HSE, working with its partners, can build on the current work and sustainably support the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of the public and healthcare workers over the longer term.
Based on the full approval of the HSE’s CEO and INOH, this report will form the basis of HSE policy and an enhanced integrated psychosocial response plan for the duration of the pandemic and over the longer “post emergency” term.
The report’s recommendations integrate and build on existing response practices and policies, and capitalise on our capabilities and expertise across Community and Acute services on an Inter-agency and Inter-disciplinary basis and in line with Slaintecare. Implementation of the report’s recommendations will consolidate and enhance both local and national provision, in a co-ordinated and structured approach.
National Psychosocial Response to Covid-19 Framework
This report and its findings were developed through a process of widespread national consultation across all areas of the health sector, and by harnessing international and local evidence and research. Our aim was to examine our strengths and prioritise key areas for improvement. Based on this work, the National Psychosocial Response to Covid-19 Framework was developed.
The framework provides a layered care approach to addressing the psychosocial consequences of Covid-19, from a societal level and then through the levels of need of the population across the life span. The structure enables us to effectively integrate the wide range of wellbeing and mental health supports available. With its focus on early detection and prevention, the framework provides a positive platform for the future of wellbeing and mental health services.
By bringing together different strands of existing services we will make sure a fully integrated strategic plan in place that can deliver a health sector psychosocial response to Covid-19.
The National Psychosocial Response project group will focus specifically on the psychosocial responses needed for the public and health sector staff.
Members of the public may be exposed to a range of psychological distress due to the ongoing exposure to Covid-19.
The HSE and many of its funded NGO partners have successfully fast-tracked new telehealth options. These include innovative online, text and phone therapeutic supports.
Many of these have been in development for some time, as part of a range of digital mental health initiatives underway in the HSE, and others have been developed specifically in response to Covid-19.
All available supports and services can be found on yourMentalHealth.ie.
Health Sector Staff
It is likely that health and social care staff across the HSE and related service providers will experience significant distress dealing with the challenges presented by Covid-19. Their mental health and psychological wellbeing are extremely important.
For HSE staff, there is a wide range of support options for healthcare workers which can be found on the HSE staff supports page.
Local CHO Psychosocial Supports
In addition to national initiatives, each local CHO area offers a number of key supports:
- A Psychological First Aid Call Back Service - for health care workers and some targeted groups of the public, who may be feeling stressed or anxious about the impact of COVID-19.
- Trained psychosocial responders will provide a brief telephone contact to help callers to cope with the daily challenges at this time.
The responders aim is to listen, to acknowledge people’s challenges and help people get back on track. The responder will also recommend resources and signpost callers to additional supports if required.
To access your local service, you can email or call (where available) as per the county list below. Please leave your name and phone number and a psychosocial responder will call you back. Please see contact details below.
||Local call back service/Contact email
||Phone (PFA briefing)
||Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo and Leitrim
||087 140 5138
||Galway, Mayo, Roscommon
||Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary
||086 036 4469
||087 184 0945
087 445 1831
||South Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford
||Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin South East
||Kildare, West Wicklow, Dublin West, Dublin South City, Dublin South West
||Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath, Louth, Meath
||Dublin North, Dublin North Central, Dublin West
||086 463 4967
Psychological First Aid Informed Briefings for Healthcare Workers
There are two types of briefings available, one for all staff and another for those in a managerial role.
These briefings are informed by international best practise and normalise the psychological distress that people may experience. They provide practical guidance on how to manage your individual stress and stress within a team or work environment.
These briefings are being delivered at a regional level by the local psychosocial team. You can arrange a local session for yourself or your team by emailing the Psychosocial team in your local area.
Please provide your contact details and indicate that you are requesting a PFA Briefing rather than an individual consultation and this will be arranged for you. See contact details above.
Briefing for staff and managers can also be accessed individually on HSELand.