Support for health and care staff

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Welcome to talking wellness, Kent and Medway’s staff mental wellbeing service.

The intensity of work NHS and social care staff are facing continues to take its toll on the health and wellbeing of the local workforce.

It means supporting the psychological wellbeing of our people is something that has never been more important.  

talking wellness is a safe and confidential space for NHS and social care staff working across Kent and Medway.  

Staff can check in, see how they’re feeling and understand what, if any, additional support they might need.  

Our team of mental health professionals can provide a variety of psychological wellbeing help, support, and advice.  

If face-to-face time with one of the talking wellness team is needed, that can be arranged too, either in person or, if preferred, by video.


Any information provided remains confidential, however, if there is a safeguarding risk to the member of staff, or anyone else (particularly a child or vulnerable adult) then this may need to be explored a little further; and with a person’s consent, we can liaise with other services on their behalf too.

All referrals into talking wellness are automatically added into RiO. Please speak with your clinician to find out more. 

Getting in touch

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a member of the talking wellness team, please email 

If you would like to refer yourself directly into the talking wellness hub, please say hello to Limbic, our automated chatbot.  

The office is staffed Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm, however, recognising that these times may not always be convenient for staff, we are also able to offer some appointments on a flexible basis if needed.  Access to Limbic is available 24/7.

talking wellness not only provides individual support for NHS and social care staff but also it offers a variety of support to various teams and departments across the health and social care setting. 

This support has already covered: 

  • Reflective practice groups for teams who are experiencing systemic challenges resulting from the pandemic, for example: staff shortages, increased workload and changes to ways of working 
  • Psycho-educational programmes on common difficulties that health and social care staff are at risk of experiencing, for example burnout and sleep difficulties
  • Weekly virtual drop-in sessions for team managers where they can access guidance and signposting for members of staff who may be experiencing mental health difficulties
  • Monthly forums for social care team managers to raise concerns or challenges they may be facing
  • Monthly meetings with acute hospital critical care leads, to ensure their teams are receiving the psychological support they require
  • Group supervision for Professional Nurse Advocates (PNAs) and for the Post COVID Assessment Service (PCAS) clinicians
  • Ongoing and regular engagement with occupational health and wellbeing teams in different organisations to regularly review and adjust, if necessary, the provision of our service in order to best meet the needs of staff within those organisations

Please email if you would like to find out more. 

Staff can contact their respective talking wellness clinician direct.

Access free, on-site, mental health and wellbeing support from a dedicated clinical psychologist and a high intensity therapist from the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service, working from the following sites: 

  • Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury 
  • Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Margate
  • William Harvey Hospital, Ashford
  • Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham
  • Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford
  • Maidstone Hospital
  • Tunbridge Wells Hospital. 

These on-line mental health wellbeing check-ins are additional support to that already provided for staff via their own trusts and organisations.

What is long COVID?

Most people's COVID symptoms get better within four weeks, however, for some people, they can last beyond this time. 

Symptoms that continue past 12 weeks are known as post-COVID syndrome or long COVID. The most common symptoms of long COVID include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Fatigue 
  • Breathlessness 
  • Brain fog (loss of concentration or memory issues)
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Low mood 
  • Anxiety 
  • Sleep difficulties. 

If you believe you’re experiencing symptoms of long COVID, speak to your GP and ask them to refer you to the Post-COVID Assessment Service (PCAS) for further support and signposting. 

Living with long Covid 

Because long COVID is a new condition there is little evidence regarding the most effective ways of treating the symptoms. 

Many people with long COVID report that, in addition to the challenge of dealing with their symptoms, they feel scared because there doesn’t seem to be a ‘cure’ and they are left wondering whether they will recover. 

People with long COVID have also reported feeling frustrated and unsupported at work because to their colleagues they appear to look fine, so are expected to perform according to their previous capacity.

Fortunately, there is now guidance available for managers to help them understand the impact of long COVID on a person’s long-term health and wellbeing.  

This enables the manager to better support any members of their team who have long COVID.

Those living with long COVID may also find themselves experiencing a sense of grief around the loss of their ability to function (physically and mentally) in the way they used to. 

If you are struggling with painful emotions related to having symptoms of long COVID, it may help to seek support in working through those feelings.

Having a chat with a talking wellness mental health practitioner is one of the ways you can do this. Please email and complete the form if this is of interest. We will do the rest and be in touch. 

All NHS and social care staff across Kent and Medway can access the service though this portal. 

From here you will see you have options. 

You can refer directly into the service using Limbic, the automated chatbot that appears in the bottom right of your screen. 

Alternatively, you can continue to browse the site, sample the self-help materials and, if you feel you would like to find out a little more before making a decision, email the team at  

Supporting the work of our team, we have a talking wellness psychologist and an Improving Access to Psychological Services (IAPT) practitioner based at each of the following acute hospitals:

  • Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Canterbury 
  • Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital, Margate
  • William Harvey Hospital, Ashford
  • Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham
  • Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford
  • Maidstone Hospital
  • Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

There is a separate referral route for this service, usually via the occupational health team or a line manager. However, people can self-refer into the service using the same email address should they wish to.  

All NHS and social care staff over the age of 18 years in Kent and Medway can ask for free, confidential mental health and wellbeing support, without the need to be seen by a GP first. 

Our talking wellness staff portal provides quick and easy access into the service using Limbic, the automated chatbot that pops up in the right-hand corner of your screen.  

You can reach Limbic at any time, and from anywhere, simply by scanning the QR code below.






Limbic asks a series of questions about you and how you’re feeling. Once those questions have been answered the information is automatically processed, and one of our trained clinicians will get in touch with you within five working days to set up an initial telephone conversation. 

That telephone call helps talking wellness to understand more about what you are experiencing at the time, and to explore together what support might help you most. 

A maximum of four telephone wellbeing check-ins are offered, and we may even signpost you to other services, like Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT), if we believe that would be helpful for you. 

There is also an option to refer straight into IAPT when making the initial contact with Limbic. Additionally, we have a talking wellness psychologist and an IAPT practitioner based in each of the county’s acute hospitals. 

There is a separate referral route for this service, usually via the occupational health team or a line manager, however, people can self-refer into this service should they wish to.  

Simply and complete the form. We will be in touch to invite you for an initial assessment to help decide if psychological intervention would be helpful, and if so what type of approach would be beneficial.  

The assessment, and any subsequent intervention, often takes place in person on the hospital sites but can also be organised virtually if preferred. 

Yes, you can, in fact talking wellness is particularly proud of its partnership with the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.   

If you choose to access our service using Limbic, the automated chatbot that pops up in the bottom right of the screen when you visit the talking wellness portal, it will ask you a series of questions. 

The answers to those are sent to your local IAPT provider, identified using the postcode provided.  

If at any time you don’t feel it is the right service for you, or later on, whilst engaging with talking wellness, your needs change, you will have the option of completing your own referral or having someone complete it for you if that is your preference.  

Either way, it is easy to do this, using an electronic referral form we will send to you by email. 

IAPT assessments contact you via the telephone and discuss treatment options, this can include online self-help resources, online group work for anxiety or depression, or one-to-one Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. A treatment pathway is be based upon your individual needs. 

Although talking wellness has a relationship with IAPT that can shorten waiting times, there is still around a six-to-eight-week wait to access the IAPT service. This varies from service to service and depending on therapeutic intervention. 

We aim to stagger sessions to bridge this gap and allow continued support during this time. 

talking wellness is also able to support members of staff to access more specialised support services depending on needs such as alcohol use, debt management, domestic violence, relationship support and bereavement services. 

Yes, you can; talking wellness has an agreement in place that enables NHS and social care staff to be seen by other trusts in neighbouring counties.

Please contact us to find out more by emailing   

There are many mental health support organisations ready and waiting to provide help should you need it. Here are the details for some of them:  

Release the Pressure

Text KENT or MEDWAY to 85258 or phone 0800 107 0160 for free confidential support at any time.

Free expert advice from trained counsellors is available for every mental health concern. Visit Release the Pressure to find out more.

Listening Line

For all NHS staff. Available 7.00 am to 11.00 pm. Call 0300 131 7000  


Call 116 123

Email (will respond within 24 hours)

Mail – send a letter to Freepost SAMARITANS LETTER

Find out more at

Bereavement and loss support 

Available 7am to 11pm.

Call 0300 303 4434

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