Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth welcomes the Samaritans wellbeing campaign including their helpline to support the adult social care workforce, given the current challenges the sector is facing.
"Workforce wellbeing for the social care sector is a core part of the work we do at Skills for Care. We know that the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are still an everyday reality for the people who work in social care.
"Our conversations with managers and people working in social care tell us that stress and burnout are real issues for adult social care, and I want to acknowledge the many pressures on the workforce right now across a range of diverse services.
"We use what we hear every day and our data and research in our discussions with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), partners, and stakeholders. We know that not everything is within our control and influence, but we will continue to do everything we can to support and champion the social care workforce.
"In such difficult times taking time out for yourself can feel like a luxury or something that’s out of reach - you might feel you don’t have the time, the energy, or the headspace, but we all need to take time to ourselves or reach out for some support.
"Some social care workers may have access to in-house support services and supportive supervision, but many report feeling very alone and isolated. Everyone's individual experiences, perceptions, and reactions are unique to them, and this winter, we want to encourage you to check-in with yourselves and others."
We believe that everyone working in social care should feel they have someone to talk to, or somewhere to turn to when needed, which is why we’re in support of the Samaritans’ confidential support line for social care and health staff.
"The support line is open to all social care and health staff to discuss feelings of stress, anxiety, and other concerns. It offers the opportunity to speak confidentially and without any judgement to a trained volunteer, who can also signpost to further support.
"The helpline is available to help social care staff to process their experiences through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as any other issues affecting their mental wellbeing, whether personal or work-related.
"With our workforce facing the most challenging times in their careers, it’s really important to be able to talk. Having the opportunity to do so in a confidential manner through a dedicated support line can make it much easier for those who find it difficult to discuss their feelings with colleagues or loved ones.
"This winter is likely to bring its own challenges, so we want to encourage everyone in our workforce to be open about any difficulties and concerns and to talk to someone – whether that’s a friend, a colleague, a partner, or the Samaritans helpline.
"Airing your feelings and having someone to listen, and to be able to point you to practical support, can really make a difference to your mental health and wellbeing."