The programme, called behavioural activation for low mood and anxiety in male NHS frontline workers, know and BALM, is funded by Movember and The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. BALM is being led by the University of York, delivered in partnership with our trust, York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Tees Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.
Research from previous infectious disease epidemics shows that frontline health workers are at increased risk of developing both short and long-term mental health problems, with up to one-third experiencing high levels of distress.
To combat this, the researchers will develop, deliver and evaluate this early intervention programme that aims to improve common mental health challenges such as low mood, burn-out, anxiety and depression faced by male frontline NHS workers. Around 45 male NHS frontline workers at risk of low mood will be recruited for the pilot, which starts in 2022.
They will receive a behavioural activation booklet and support from specially trained experts on how to get the most out of the programme. It’s expected to be rolled out across the NHS towards the end of the project in two years’ time.
Consultant Paramedic, Steve Bell, who is a co-investigator of this programme and our Research Lead said, “It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed extreme demands on the emergency services provided by the NHS, and those frontline workers in these services have faced unprecedented pressures over this time. Ensuring male frontline workers, who are often disinclined to speak out and seek help, are supported is vital and this project offers the opportunity to study proven behavioural activation methods to support this potentially vulnerable group of NHS staff.”