(Photo: iStock).

All frontline staff, including community pharmacists and volunteers at the forefront of the national Covid-19 response across England, can now access a new psychological first aid (PFA) training course.

The free online course enables responders to develop their skills and confidence in providing key psychological support to people affected by coronavirus, including on issues such as job worries, bereavement or isolation as they carry out their vital work as part of the ongoing virus response.

The course has been developed by the Public Health England (PHE) and will be available to frontline workers and volunteers dealing with the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries said: “Supporting each other’s mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever during these challenging and uncertain times. Staff and volunteers in many different roles are working tirelessly to provide crucial support at this time and are often a critical touchpoint in identifying those who may be affected.

“This new training course will help to support the incredible work of frontline workers to support those most in need both through the coronavirus outbreak and beyond, equipping them with vital tools to deliver psychological first aid.”

The new course has been developed by PHE with support from NHS England and Health Education England and is being made available to frontline workers across England by social learning platform, Future Learn.

Frontline responders can access the training materials for free through the Future Learn website.

Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at PHE, said: “The current pandemic has had a profound impact on all of our daily lives and none more so than our frontline workers who are seeing the effects of the outbreak first hand.

“Our training course aims to provide frontline staff and volunteers with additional resources on how to take care of their own mental health and wellbeing, how to provide support to those who need it most and advice on how to cope with difficult situations.”

PFA is being used worldwide to support those in need of mental and wellbeing support in emergency situations. The World Health Organization and United Nations are supporting its use in response to Covid-19.

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