NHS frontline staff will be offered at least six free psychotherapy sessions with UK mental health practitioners in order to provide vital mental health support to those working on the frontline of the COVID19 pandemic.
Heather Wellbeing, a start-up founded and launched in just 7 days, has launched an initiative to provide NHS frontline staff free wellbeing and mental health support online and via phone through Heather Wellbeing’s platform and network of professional therapists volunteering to help.
Heather Wellbeing already has over 100 fully accredited therapists ready to provide support, with the overall aim of growing the initiative to over 1,000+ therapists and 12,000 hours of therapy – worth more than £1,000,000 and delivered for free directly to NHS staff in need.
The UK’s recent lockdown has seen a number of emotional pleas from nurses and doctors go viral on social media, painting pictures of personal sacrifice, self-isolation, separation from families, and the physical and mental toll of working gruelling hours at hospitals looking after patients who are either seriously sick or dying from the coronavirus.
James Morgenstern, 29, the start-up’s founder who has self-funded the entire venture and initiative, originally became inspired to set up a therapy business after seeking therapy himself during a particularly challenging period. He commented:
“During this time of uncertainty and strain, our NHS frontline medical staff are facing huge challenges – including maintaining their own wellbeing and mental health. We want to do all we can to support them through this turbulent time with the provision of free therapy to those who need it. The task our nurses and doctors face is daunting on every front, but it’s critical to their health, their patients’ lives and our country that their wellbeing is looked after. Nurses and doctors often have very few people to speak to – they don’t want to worry their friends and family, or burden their colleagues who are overwhelmed by their own emotions.”
Morgenstern continued: “I see therapy as crucial support to help in this once in a lifetime pandemic and we are doing our best to help through the creation of this initiative. The idea for Heather Wellbeing is to help people improve their mental health and wellbeing. Helping the NHS aligns with this mission.”
NHS frontline staff can book a 50 minute therapy session via the Heather Wellbeing website at a time convenient to them between 7am to 9pm. The process is quick and easy for those seeking support – filling out a short form to be quickly matched with a trained therapist, who will provide 6 sessions, typically worth £80 each, entirely free. Subsequent sessions after this initial period can be arranged, as needed, directly with the therapist. All consultations are undertaken via a video-call (FaceTime, WhatsApp, or Skype). There are future plans to provide support for night shift workers and a responsive call centre that links immediately to a trained therapist too. Heather Wellbeing are hoping this initiative will be supported financially by the public through its Go Fund Me page here.
Heather Wellbeing was initially developed to address the often daunting, confusing and impersonal journey of searching for a therapist – replacing it with a reassuring, simple and tailored process. Frustrated by his own experiences of finding a suitable therapist, James Morgenstern envisioned a service that stripped back the jargon and focussed on the person – carefully matching those seeking support with top therapists that align to people’s specific needs and preferences.
This would ultimately form Heather’s holistic approach to wellbeing, where clients are also supported by leading experts across all areas of their lives, such as sleep, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle in order to accelerate the process of creating meaningful, sustainable and tangible long-term change.
Heather Wellbeing is still committed to supporting private (non-NHS) people seeking support but has quickly pivoted and dedicated immediate resources to focus on supporting NHS-Frontline Staff given the urgency and seriousness of the pandemic.
Prior to full launch to the NHS, Heather’s platform has delivered support to a small group of NHS frontline staff and has been received with open arms and a show of huge thanks.
NHS frontline staff may book a therapy session online here.
Donations to support the initiative through Go Fund Me can be made here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-the-nhs-mental-health