Almost 140 ex-NHS staff return to help mental health service through coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 13:41 27 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:58 27 March 2020

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's chief medical officer, Dr Dan Dalton  Picture: ANGELA SHARPE PHOTOGRAPHY

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's chief medical officer, Dr Dan Dalton Picture: ANGELA SHARPE PHOTOGRAPHY

Angela Sharpe Photography

More than 130 ex-NHS staff are coming back to help the region’s mental health trust through the coronavirus crisis.

It comes as a Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) medical chief warned they expected to see a rise in people struggling with their mental health because of the lockdown.

Chief medical officer Dr Dan Dalton said: “There is no debate that it is having a huge impact on mental wellbeing and everyone needs to do what they can to help each other.

“It impacts on people already with mental health needs, but it will also impact on people isolating and our staff too.”

He shared three tips to look after your mental health during the pandemic - eat and sleep well, limit the amount of news you watch and get exercise.

Dr Dalton said the NSFT was still meeting patients face-to-face, while other appointments were being done over the phone and online.

“People need to know that they can still see us,” he said. “People are understandably anxious about going to hospitals and that is right, but we are still there to see people.”

He said the NSFT was also launching new ways to help everyone through web sessions.

It is also planning to set up a crisis phone line next week and more staff have been moved to the wellbeing teams.

“We have not seen a huge impact yet, but I am worried that people are not getting help when they need it and the stress will take a toll,” Dr Dalton said.

He added that the NSFT was getting ready for the expected longer-term demand of coronavirus by writing to staff who had left.

As of Thursday, 139 ex-staff had signed up to return.

“I’m incredibly proud of the response of our staff,” Dr Dalton said. “Everyone is coming together. It is a really stressful set of circumstances but wonderful to see how dedicated people are.”

• The NSFT is running web sessions twice a week for anyone needing support. They are every Thursday from 1pm to 3pm and every Tuesday from 10am to midday.

You can join them by visiting

• Anyone needing help can also contact the NSFT on 0300 123 1503.

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