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Practitioner mental health wellbeing: Reaching for the ‘oxygen mask’

Jo Daniels

25 Jun 2024


The Pandemic has shone a spotlight on the existing problems in an overstretched workforce situated within a chronically underfunded NHS. The psychological impact of working through the Pandemic has been well documented, and we are still working through the extensive backlog of outstanding psychological need. As our healthcare system faces a staffing crisis which has been steadily growing for at least a decade, psychological therapists have become even more important and at the fore of workforce recovery plans, particularly in staff wellbeing and support. More broadly, the landscape reflects deepening socioeconomic difficulties, issues of inequity in access, and developments in services that strive to cater for all demands. This is a challenging time, if not the most challenging time to be a therapist in a health care setting.  

Therapists are of course, not immune to the personal impact of working in difficult or stressful environments. Yet there is perhaps a nuanced expectation that we are resilient and have the skills and knowledge to take care of ourselves. But do we? It is vital that we remind ourselves to reach for the Oxygen mask, before helping others. As we know, we all have limits and a ‘window of tolerance’ when it comes to stress, and when beyond this we are compromising both our own mental health and the care we deliver to others. This in turn affects how we feel about our work and ourselves. The research reflects a strong link between stress and burnout and patient outcomes, team functioning and longer-term psychological wellbeing of NHS staff.  When was the last time that you considered your own personal limits, capacity, early warning signs or unmet needs? It is essential that we take conscious, pragmatic steps towards managing mental health and preventing burnout before we need to. 

The event will be equivalent to 2 hrs of CPD.


In this webinar, we will outline current research and guidance around mental health and staff wellbeing, taking an evidence-based, proactive approach to the understanding and practical application of workplace wellbeing to practicing therapists. We will touch upon concepts such as the ‘window of tolerance’, models of burnout, the persistence of stigma and draw on what we know about common mental health difficulties and how they are treated.

The webinar will include space to reflect and consider current unmet needs in the workplace and opportunity to identify personal early warning signs. We will also share a range of skills and tools that can be used to improve wellbeing, and support attendees to map pathways to psychological support in their own workplace. All techniques and tools will be delivered within a context of a cognitive behavioural approach to mental health and wellbeing. Many of the techniques and tools will be familiar, however in this webinar we will be mobilising and adapting some of what you know, to address your own wellbeing needs.

The primary objectives of this webinar are to normalise and recognise the psychological impact of working in therapeutic services at this point in time, enable delegates to better understand their own personal wellbeing, and based on this, develop an outline of proactive next steps to maintain or improve current mental health and wellbeing at work.

Learning Objectives

• Gain an understanding of relevant research and guidance relevant and available to therapists working in practice;
• Identify personal and professional unmet need relevant to the workplace;
• Gain an understanding of a range of tools and techniques that can support mental health and wellbeing in the workplace;
• Develop an outline plan of next steps for better mental health.

Training Modalities

This session will use interactive teaching technologies such as Padlet (virtual online pin board) and mentimeter (online platform) as well as experiential components such as reflecting on unmet needs at work and current psychological wellbeing, which can be anonymously shared via mentimeter (or this can be done independently). There will also be a brief section which is more didactic information sharing, with regards to research and published guidance, but questions are welcome. There will be a Q&A section towards the end.

Key References

British Psychological Society (2021) ‘Building a Caring Workforce’. Accessed from: Building a Caring Work Culture.pdf (

Daniels, J., et al. (2021), 'The covid-19 clinician cohort (Cocco) study: Empirically grounded recommendations for forward-facing psychological care of frontline doctors', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 18, 9675.

National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) (2022) ‘Mental wellbeing at work’

NICE guideline [NG212]Published: 02 March 2022, accessed from

Paskell, R., Daniels, J., Blake, H., & Stacey, G. (2023). Dealing With Anxiety and Low Mood. In Health and Wellbeing at Work for Nurses and Midwives. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Yang, Y., & Hayes, J. A. (2020). Causes and consequences of burnout among mental health professionals: A practice-oriented review of recent empirical literature. Psychotherapy, 57(3), 426.

About the presenter

Dr Jo Daniels is a Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist at the University of Bath. Jo has been conducting research into the psychological impact of the pandemic on the public, those most vulnerable and staff groups within the NHS. Jo and her team developed the CoCCo model of psychological wellbeing, which has been adopted by staff support services and clinical teams across the UK. Her research and policy recommendations on retention and wellbeing have reached national and international policymakers, with invitations to speak on wellbeing from across the globe. Jo has worked extensively with the media on public mental health and workforce wellbeing, including TV and radio interviews and podcasts.

In addition to her research and training of therapists, Jo is also the co-chair of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) Scientific Committee and a BABCP accredited practicing clinical psychologist.

From the more human perspective, Jo has experienced workplace burnout (and survived it) and regularly faces the continuing challenges of managing workplace wellbeing alongside the demands of life outside of work.

Who should attend

This session is suitable for anyone who is interested in thinking about their wellbeing and wanting to take steps to towards sustainable workplace wellbeing. While the session has reflective elements, it is also evidence-based in approach and tangible practical outcomes.

Low Intensity clinical contact hours survey - BABCP Low Intensity Special Interest Group

Please click below if you are interested in contributing to the survey.


The BACP Low Intensity SIG are interested in the impact of clinical contact hours on Low Intensity/Wellbeing Practitioner wellbeing. This questionnaire contains six multi-choice questions and a free text box for you to share your experiences. The answers to these questions will help the BABCP SIG plan how to meet CPD topics and other developments within the SIG.  The SIG hope to produce a write up of the answers to this questionnaire to be shared with SIG members and to be used in training.

View Survey

This FREE conference is for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners working in Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services and is brought to you by Bespoke Mental Health in collaboration with the NHS England Talking Therapies National PWP Leads Network

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