Older people enjoying each other's company in a care home
Government and politics, Mental health, Work and occupational

Hear from the hubs: Jane's story

Jane, a highly experienced care home manager, shares how her local NHS staff mental health and wellbeing hub supported her to stay in her role.

10 March 2023

Jane, a care home manager, found herself struggling with her mental health in the aftermath of the pandemic lockdowns. With the local NHS staff mental health and wellbeing hub offering support for social care staff in her area, Jane received the help she needed to stay in her role.

Read Jane's story.

If you asked my family, friends and colleagues about me, they'd tell you I'm the strong one. But all of a sudden, I wasn't the strong one. For the first time in my life, I struggled. I've worked in social care for more than 20 years, and I'd never felt like this before.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, all my time and energy was focused on work and taking care of our residents. Their lives were in our hands and we did our best for them in the worst possible circumstances.

As a manager, I also had to take care of my team, support them and their mental health.

After the intensity of the pandemic subsided, I didn't initially realise how much of a toll it had taken on me. But over time, I felt like I was becoming an angry person. I felt really alone with it, even though I wasn't.

For the first time in my long career, I felt I couldn't continue in my role. I started to think I'd done my best for many years, and it was time to do something different, even though I'd always loved my job.

It was hard for other people in my life to understand what I had been through and what I was feeling, and it wasn't their fault. They just hadn't seen what I'd seen, or experienced what I'd experienced.

I referred myself and my team to the hub, and our needs were quickly assessed. We had a session with the team, which was really helpful for us all. 

I was also invited to join a course for social care managers who, like me, wanted to develop their skills and talk about their experiences with people who knew exactly what we had been through.  

The hub created a safe space for me to talk, be open and free and say how I was feeling with colleagues who had similar experiences, who understood and could hear me.

In my experience, if you can't sort yourself out, or you can't hold yourself together, your relationships both inside and outside of work will be impacted, and both your work and home life will be affected.

My experience with the hub has helped me in so many ways. Now I can identify when I'm not coping as well as usual, and how I can help myself. It really gave me the opportunity to explore my thoughts and feelings, and recognise them.

I'm in awe of the team, [at the hub]. They have got a way about them and you automatically feel safe in their company. They respectfully show you that they do care and are listening.

I've never had previous experience with a counsellor or therapist and to be honest, if I'd had to pay privately, I probably wouldn't have sought help, even though I really needed it.

The hub, however, made it very easy for me to get the help I needed really quickly, and I've recommended it to colleagues. 

I was very close to leaving my job, and if I hadn't received support from the hub, there's a very good chance I might not be in my role now.

When the hubs were announced, it was so important to us. We often feel hard done by in social care, and with the hubs, it felt like 'they've given us something, they do actually care, social care is valuable to us'.

Then for us to potentially only have had the hub for such a short amount of time is devastating.

About the campaign 

Government funding for the NHS Staff and Wellbeing Hubs is due to end on 31 March 2023,

The BPS and ACP-UK are together campaigning for the government to provide a minimum of one year's transitional ring-fenced funding so that hubs can continue to provide a vital lifeline for NHS and social care staff, and identify alternative funding options to secure their future.

Read about the campaign in the Independent 

Hear from the hub leads