Staff Psychological Wellbeing during COVID-19

Hyranthi Kavanagh1, Mitch Read1, Grant Bayman1, Pallas Sarney1, Sandra McMillian1Dr Michael Monisse-Redman1

1Fiona Stanley Hospital,

Understanding the importance of psychology and human behaviour in public health, including the engagement in new behaviours or behaviour change as well as recognising the critical importance of supporting the psychological health and wellbeing of health care workers, FSFHG was one of the first Health Services to develop a comprehensive Psychological Wellbeing & Preparedness plan for staff in March 2020. The plan mapped a suite of initiatives to align with the phases of the COVID-19 infectious outbreak, targeting the management of stress and emotional distress, moderating the social disruption, loneliness and isolation confronting heath care workers and provide ways to conceptualise the anxiety and emerging unhelpful behaviours to aid and promote better coping. The comprehensive Psychological Wellbeing & Preparedness plan for staff developed at FSFHG was shared with and utilised by other HSP’s staff support initiatives.

Outcomes: Feedback from staff attending the presentations was overwhelmingly positive, noting improved understanding of psychological responses during an outbreak and improved strategies with 93% reporting value and use within the workplace. In addition, there is an increased culture of openness to fostering psychological safety within Teams, seeking psychological support individually and collectively as teams, which provided impetus to the Team First Aid & Psychological First Aid trial aimed at managing psychological responses to critical incidents at work that is currently being rolled out across FSFHG. The most pleasing validation of the FSFHG Psychological Wellbeing & Preparedness plan was the release of the British Psychological Society paper later that month for the NHS on The Psychological needs of healthcare staff as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic incorporating a similar stepped care model to ours incorporating many of the psychological support actions delivered to FSFHG staff


Hyranthi Kavanagh is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Department for Clinical Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology at Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group.

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