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Supporting the professional needs and mental health of frontline staff at the Panmure Testing Centre

The Panmure Testing Centre has been a busy place to work during the COVID-19 response, conducting up to 100 swabs daily. Alliance Health Plus (AH+) who manage the testing location have been keen to support the needs of staff who work at the centre, and as such have implemented both professional development and personal mental health sessions for the team.

COVID-19 brought uncertainty and some level of worry to all New Zealanders. We are living with pressures and COVID-19 has added to and amplified many of these resulting, in some cases, with staff at the frontline bearing the brunt of patient frustrations.

To assist frontline staff in dealing with these behaviours, AH+ Mental Health Managers Trisha Ireland and Mental Health Clinical Coordinator Wayne Hussey delivered a session on ‘Challenging Behaviour’ which included simple and effective techniques in best communication and de-escalation, based upon research by Bowers, L. (2014). A model of de-escalation. Mental Health Practice, 17(9). The session was very well received and gives the staff skills that can be applied in many different settings.

In addition to this, a series of psychology sessions to support Panmure frontline staff through COVID-19 have been run virtually by two experienced AH+ psychologists. The three consecutive weekly sessions have taken place via Zoom providing an opportunity for the team to ‘debrief’, share experiences and receive peer and professional support. These sessions have drawn positive feedback from participants.



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