Pharmacists and support staff are among the health workers set to benefit from a £15 million injection of funding for mental health services from NHS England and Improvement.
The money, which is being provided for nurses, paramedics, therapists, pharmacists and support staff, will be used to fund outreach and assessment services across the country and develop wellbeing and psychological training this winter.
It will also go towards the creation of a national support service for critical care staff who NHSEI said “are most vulnerable to severe trauma.”
The funding follows the government’s pledge to improve the mental health of staff in the NHS in its People Plan.
“Staff referred by themselves or colleagues will be rapidly assessed and treated by local expert mental health specialists. Those with the most severe needs will be referred to a specialist centre of excellence,” NHSE said.
England Pharmacy Board chair Claire Anderson said the extra money was “a positive step” and hoped “the government and NHS can build on this so that pharmacists and all staff have equal access to support.”
“After a gruelling seven months, pharmacists are already under strain as we head into what will be a challenging winter, so it’s welcome to see them included in this new mental health service,” she said.
“Covid-19 has shown how important it is to support staff wellbeing, wherever they might be delivering patient care.”
Prerana Issar, chief people officer for the NHS, said: “We are committed to improving the wellbeing of our staff and this announcement will make it easier for NHS workers to access day-to-day support, as well as more intensive mental health care where required.
“To all my NHS colleagues, it’s imperative that you prioritise your own mental health so you can continuing providing the world-renowned care we are so proud of. If you are struggling do let someone know. There is also more information and advice at people.nhs.uk.”
Doctors and dentists across England already have access to mental health services through NHS Practitioner Health.