Working with people around the time of death and with those who are bereaved can be demanding. This can be the case for staff across health, social care and other agencies. It is important to ensure that you look after yourself and are aware of any impact to your own wellbeing.

A new resource specifically dedicated to psychosocial support and wellbeing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is now available from NES - please click here to view it.

Stress, Coping and Resilence: Advice for Health and Care Professionals


This NES video by Dr Caroline Cochrane offers a brief guide for healthcare staff concerning stress, coping and resilience in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keeping well 

Trying to maintain and optimise your physical and mental health can be beneficial. This might include:

  • Getting regular exercise, eating a healthy balanced diet and by limiting your alcohol intake

  • Ensuring that you have the opportunity to take regular breaks at work

  • Protecting your time away from work during non-working days and annual leave

  • Attending to your emotional and spiritual needs

  • Recognising and acting on the early warning signs of possible stress, ‘burn-out’ or mental health difficulties

Coping with death and bereavement as a health and social care professional

This film introduces the acronym ‘TALK

  • Tell

  • Ask

  • Listen

  • Kindness

which was designed to help health and social care professionals cope with death and bereavement. It encourages staff to support each other with simple strategies such as talking to your colleagues, asking how your team are doing, listening to one another and showing kindness to yourself and others.

transcript for this video can be found here.

A downloadable leaflet which accompanies the video can be found here or by clicking on the image to the right.

Psychological First Aid

This Psychological First Aid animation has been produced in partnership between NHS Education for Scotland and West Dunbartonshire HSCP.

It was designed to support anyone who is delivering health or social care to deliver effective Psychological First Aid (PFA) throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. PFA is a humane, supportive and flexible response to people who are in distress or suffering during and after crises or emergencies.

In addition to this animation, a new Psychological First Aid module has been launched on Turas Learn.

Click here or on the image to the right to watch this animation



Psychological Wellbeing

series of podcasts have been developed by NHS Education for Scotland to help managers and staff during difficult times. The series of 5 podcasts includes topics on, Psychological Wellbeing, Psychological First Aid, Resilience for Managers, Psychological 1st Aid in Action, Perinatal and Infant Mental Health e-learning modules. 

Click here to watch the podcast series

Working in a Crisis: Daily Psychological Protection

It can be difficult to prioritise our own wellbeing in an ongoing crisis when we're busy looking after others. Here are some key evidence based tips to protect your own psychological wellbeing and help you continue to look after others safely & effectively.

Click here to access further psychosocial mental health and wellbeing support for staff throughout the COVID-19 pandemic on Turas Learn


Resilience - The Avalanche

This short film, directed by Dr Matthew Walton, highlights the experience of a Mountain Rescue volunteer and how he has dealt with death, bereavement and has built personal resilience to stay well in the job.

Resilience - One Team's Trauma

This film was produced by a helicopter emergency medical service team and provides an insight into the emotional responses experienced by the team after attending a critical incident and what has helped them to cope.


Read more - BMJ Opinion article: "Processing trauma: Resilience may not lie within individuals, but between individuals", by Matthew Walton, May 15, 2018

Sources of Help

It is important to seek help if you are experiencing any difficulties which relate to your health and wellbeing, whether it be related to grief and bereavement or not. There are many sources of help and information which can be accessed independently or in conjunction with contact from specialist Occupation Health staff support services.

Samaritans Scotland - if you're having a difficult time or you're worried about someone else, call Samaritans Scotland on 116 123

Caring for Yourself in End of Life Care (Irish Hospice Foundation) leaflet

Thriving in Medicine, information for doctors in training from the Scotland Deanery

Lifelines Scotland – supporting the wellbeing of volunteer emergency responders

You Behind The Uniform - training and support from Cruse Bereavement Care for emergency services workers including frontline healthcare staff

National Wellbeing Hub for People Working in Health and Social Care - A partnership between national, local and professional bodies with a shared passion for looking after the emotional and psychological wellbeing of Scotland's health and social services workers.


Other Links of Relevance

Safe and Well at Work: Occupational Health and Safety Strategic Framework for NHSScotland, Scottish Government, March 2011

Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives

NHS Health Scotland Keep Well

Scotland's Health on the Web, NHSScotland

Staff Governance, NHSScotland

Managing bereavement in the workplace: a good practice guide, ACAS

Protecting the psychological wellbeing of staff and teams for managers and team leaders e-learning moduleTuras Learn