Time for you: a process evaluation of the rapid implementation of a multi-level mental health support intervention for frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bryan McCann*, Simon C. Hunter, Kareena McAloney-Kocaman, Paul McCarthy, Jan Smith, Eileen Calveley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had wide-ranging negative impacts on mental health. The pandemic also placed extraordinary strain on frontline workers who were required to continue working and putting themselves at risk to provide essential services at a time when their normal support mechanisms may not have been available. This paper presents an evaluation of the Time for You service, a rapidly developed and implemented intervention aimed at providing frontline workers with quick access to flexible online mental health support. Time for You provided service users with three service options: self-guided online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) resources; guided engagement with online CBT resources; 1-1 psychological therapy with trainee sport and exercise psychologists and trainee health psychologists. A process evaluation informed by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research considered service fidelity, adaptations, perceived impact, reach, barriers, and facilitators. Interviews with project managers (n=5), delivery staff (n=10), and service users (n=14) explored perceptions of the service implementation and outcomes, supported by data regarding engagement with the online CBT platform (n=217). Findings indicated that service users valued the flexibility of the service and the speed with which they were able to access support. The support offered by Trainee Psychologists was perceived to be of high quality, and the service was perceived by service users to have improved mental health and wellbeing. The rapid implementation contributed to issues regarding appropriate service user screening that led to trainee psychologists being unable to provide the service users with the support they needed as the presenting issues were outside of trainees’ competencies. Overall, the findings suggest that interventions offering flexible, online psychological support to frontline workers can be an effective model for future interventions. Trainee psychologists are also able to play an important role in delivering such services when clear screening processes are in place.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0293393
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume18
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • frontline workers
  • mental health
  • process evaluation
  • trainee psychologists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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