In 2019, the charity became the first air ambulance charity in the UK to launch an online wellbeing program that takes a proactive approach to monitoring and enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of their critical care teams.
The program has been nominated for three awards and was recently the winner of the Hospital Heroes Award, celebrating the achievements of individuals and teams working within University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.
The program consists of a wellbeing website, designed to give critical care teams the tools to monitor their own mental health by completing a monthly survey. Supported by the charity, any team member who is in difficulty has immediate access to a dedicated clinical psychologist and specialist in trauma support who is already working with clinicians in the Emergency Department at University Hospital Southampton. This is in addition to the services already funded by the charity and provided in close partnership with Occupational Health specialists at University Hospital Southampton.
Alex Lochrane, CEO of HIOWAA, said: “Like our service, our Online Wellbeing Program is evolving all the time and, crucially, it puts the best tools to sustain and protect their psychological health and fitness into the hands of the clinicians themselves. The addition of dedicated access to support from highly experienced mental health professionals is critical to ensure that they are both physically and mentally prepared for the, often life-changing, incidents that they attend on a regular basis.”
HEMS doctor Matt Kerton, who has been with the Charity for three years and led the programme for HIOWAA, added: “This year, Mental Health Awareness Week has an added poignancy and I feel proud that, thanks to our Online Wellbeing Program, HIOWAA is in a position to provide their critical care teams with the support that they need during these challenging times.”