A PIONEERING new mental health and wellbeing project has been launched to support York primary care healthcare workers as they cope with the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

#YorCareSpace is being launched as part of Mental Health Awareness Week for staff working at GP surgeries in the Vale of York CCG (clinical commissioning group) area.

As part of the programme, The Retreat, a mental health provider in Heslington Road, is offering a safe, supported group environment which lets staff talk via a secure video conferencing link about their experiences of the current situation and consider ways to maintain their wellbeing.

GP Professor Mike Holmes said #YorCareSpace was a ‘multi-stakeholder programme,’ based on an approach developed in Bristol and evaluated by University College London.

“We’ve piloted it locally and it’s been really well received,” he said.

“Staff will be able to book on to sessions via an online platform and we’re hoping many workers in primary care will reach out if they need this kind of support.”

A spokeswoman said the service was free and was supported by local GP practices, the NHS, Local Primary Care Networks and The Retreat.

Dr Kim Bevan, Chief Officer at The Retreat, said: “Everyone has been affected in some way by the current situation and by offering our service to the #YorCareSpace project, we are supporting our community of healthcare staff in York. The Retreat is a charity, offering compassion and collaboration in our communities, so helping with the #YorCareSpace programme is something we feel is really important.”

For more information, go to www.theretreatyork.org.uk