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Nurse And Patient


The COVID Trauma Response Working Group has been formed to help coordinate trauma-informed responses to the COVID outbreak. We are made of psychological trauma specialists, coordinators of the psychosocial response to trauma, wellbeing leads at NHS Trusts and people with lived experience of psychological trauma. The working group is being coordinated by staff at University College London and the Traumatic Stress Clinic at Camden and Islington NHS Trust. We are very grateful to our clinical and scientific colleagues in other NHS trusts and universities who are contributing to this work. We hope that this work be helpful to our colleagues and their patients affected by COVID.

Our trauma expert clinical academic panel includes 

- Dr Michael Bloomfield, UCL and the Traumatic Stress Clinic

- Dr Talya Greene, UCL and University of Haifa

- Dr Jo Billings, UCL and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

- Dr Mary Robertson, the Traumatic Stress Clinic

- Prof Chris Brewin, UCL 

- Dr Nick Grey, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and University of Sussex

- Dr Sharif El-Leithy, South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust

-Dr Deborah Lee, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

-Dr Helen Kennerley, Oxford Cognitive Therapy Centre and University of Oxford.

-Dr Idit Albert, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust and Kings College London

-Dr Dominic Murphy, President of the UK Psychological Trauma Society

-Dr Nicky Gilbert, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Our Traumatic Stress Clinic specialist clinicians include:

Dr Jocelyn Blumberg

Dr Kim Ehntholt

Dr Chloe Gerskowitch

Dr Julia Gillard

Dr Hamodi Kayal

Dr Timothy Kember

Dr Laura Kemmis

Dr Livia Ottisova

Dr Rosanna Philpott

Dr Eileen Walsh

Our wellbeing expert group include:

Dr Lisa Monaghan, University College Hospitals NHS Trust

Dr Sarah Lunn, Whittington Health NHS Trust and Camden & Islington 

NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Mari Campbell, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Lorna Fortune, North Middlesex Hospital NHS Trust and Barnet Enfield & Haringey NHS Trust

Dr Bev Flint, Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust

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It is essential that the psychological response to the COVID outbreak is coordinated, trauma-informed and evidence-based. We will be posting information and resources on this website.

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Our current programme of research seeks to explore the impact of working during the COVID-19 pandemic on frontline healthcare workers and their experiences and views about psychosocial support that they have been offered or used.

Current research: 

  • Frontline health and social care workers’ views and experiences – one year on. We are interested in hearing from frontline health and social care workers to understand your experiences and views of working on the pandemic over the last 18 months. We want to hear about your experiences, how you coped and what you found helpful or unhelpful with regards to the support you were offered. Participation involves a one-off remote interview for about 45 minutes. If you are interested in taking part, or for more information, please contact To view our recruitment poster, please click here.

  • Frontline health and social care workers’ family members’ views and experiences. We are keen to hear from the family members of frontline health and social care workers to better understand how the pandemic and your family member working on the frontline has affected you and your family. While attention has been paid to the impact on frontline workers themselves, no one has been paying attention to the impact on their families. We want to change this and would like to invite you to take part in a one-off remote interview for about 45 minutes. If you are interested in taking part, or for more information, please contact To view our recruitment poster, please click here.


Recently completed research:​

  • Frontline-COVID Survey: Over 1,200 frontline health and social care staff completed our baseline survey. Further follow up surveys have now been completed by frontline staff over the subsequent 12 months. Results from the first wave of data collection have now been published, please see Greene et al (2021) above in Our Publications. We will be making further findings available as soon as possible. 

  • Interviews with frontline workers: We have completed in-depth interviews with 25 frontline health and social care workers from across the UK exploring their experiences and views about support. Results from this study have now been published, please see Billings et al (2021) above in Our Publications.

  • Interviews with mental health workers: We have completed in-depth interviews with 28 mental health practitioners who have been working to support frontline workers throughout the pandemic, exploring their own experiences, views and needs during the pandemic. Results from this study have now been published, please see Billings et al (2021) above in Our Publications.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken part and been involved in this crucial research!

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Our guidance is collated from research, best practice guidelines and expert clinical opinion. Our guidance is not an exhaustive list of recommendations but is intended to inform planners, managers, team leaders, and clinicians of the organisational and psychological processes which are likely to be helpful, or unhelpful, in supporting survivors during and after the COVID pandemic.

Our Mission:

Clinical Guidelines:

For Planners & Organisations:

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Updated advice for health and social care staff coping with stress during acute phases of the COVID-19 pandemic

The entire health and social care workforce has been doing work that has been mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging for many months under extremely difficult circumstances.

As a member of this frontline workforce, there may be times when you feel you are coping well and times you feel that you are coping less well. You might have felt anxious, stressed, alone, scared, sad, overwhelmed, angry, helpless or even numb. You might have felt guilty about difficult decisions that you have had to make. Over time, you may feel like you are “running on empty”. You may have different reactions to this challenging period.

These are all normal responses to an extremely difficult situation. Everyone is different, and everyone will experience different emotions at different times.

There are things that you can do to take care of yourself.

Give yourself permission to take regular breaks during your shifts when possible. If you are a team leader or supervisor, it is helpful to role model this to your team. It is important to try to eat and drink properly. Make sure that you take some time out between shifts. Protect your sleep. It is being responsible, not selfish, to look after yourself. Try to think about and use or adapt strategies that have helped you in the past to cope with stressful situations.

Try to find ways to keep in touch and stay connected with the people who are important to you and give you support. Spend quality time with people in your household or in your bubble.

Engage in exercise and physical activity. Spend time outside when possible. Maintain a routine as much as you can. Plan regular activities that help you feel good. Avoid relying on unhelpful coping strategies like smoking, alcohol or other drugs.

Limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to the news, including on social media. This can help you take a break from thinking about the pandemic.

Spend time deliberately engaged with focused activities that take your mind away from the current crisis. Any active task may help distract you, including baking, puzzles, and paint by numbers. There is even some evidence that distracting activities that make use of spatial skills can be helpful in reducing distressing memories, such as playing the computer game Tetris.

Be kind to yourself. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but being too self-critical can increase stress. Show the same compassion to yourself as you would to your friends, family and colleagues.

You are not alone in this situation – your colleagues are likely to be experiencing similar things to you, and you can support each other. Book in regular chat times. It is OK to say you are not OK.

If you feel overwhelmed, know that there are ways to get support. You could talk to your colleagues, your manager, or someone else that you trust about how you are feeling. Many organisations, including the NHS, are now offering additional dedicated psychological support services for health and social care staff. Check on your organisation’s website for more information. You can also speak to your own doctor about this.

Try and focus on what is in your control. Pay attention to things that are going well when you can - share and celebrate the successes or small wins. Some of the experiences you have had during this time are likely to have significance in your personal or professional journey. Hold on to your values and your beliefs. Remember the contribution that you are making. Aim to actively increase your awareness of experiences for which you can feel grateful. Even though this has already been a marathon, it will not last forever.

Guidance produced by the COVID trauma working group, an expert group of psychological trauma specialists based at UCL, the Traumatic Stress Clinic, and other leading trauma centres and universities [05/02/2021]

Multilingual advice for hospital staff during the COVID pandemic:

Coping with stress - Advice in English 

التّعامل مع التّوتُّر: توصيّات للعاملين في المستشفيات أثناء وباء كوڤد19

Stressbewältigung -  Beratung auf Deutsch

Gestionar el estrés -Consejos en Español

Gérer votre stress - Conseils en Français

Gestire lo stress - Consigli in Italiano

Como lidar com o stress - Conselhos em Português

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Useful evidence-based resources for clinicians coordinating psychosocial responses to COVID

General Guidance:

For Planners & Organisations:

For Health & Social Care Workers:​

For COVID19 Patients:​

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