When Kelley, an NHS Technical Instructor had lasting Covid-19 symptoms of breathlessness, anxiety, fatigue and sensory overload, she was desperate to reach out for help. 

Whilst working at a hospital, she learned of our Long Covid Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) recovery group, a space for staff suffering with symptoms lasting more than four weeks to speak with others and learn strategies to manage physical and emotional feelings.

She said: “I was very excited that the need for Long Covid support was being recognised among staff. I was desperate to have some tips and hints, so initially I was enthusiastic to find out what I could do to help myself.”

Kelley’s experience is not unique. The Office for National Statistics estimates, 1.1 million people in the UK were reporting Long Covid symptoms at the start of May 2021. These were defined as symptoms that had lasted more than four weeks. For 869,000 people, the symptoms had lasted more than 12 weeks, and for 376,000 of those, the symptoms had lasted beyond a year.

Source: ONS

Getting support

Since completing the eight week online course, ran by our qualified CBT Therapist, Kelley now feels she isn’t alone in her struggle.

“I've been given tools to help combat the worst of my symptoms. The group was a fantastic way to meet others with similar symptoms and it was beneficial hearing about their experiences. The different strategies they had tried that may or may not have worked. I feel less anxious now that I have ways of coping in place.”

Advice to health and social care staff living with Long Covid

Kelley’s advice to staff is: “I'd highly recommend this course to my health and social care colleagues. It's interesting, insightful, and full of helpful information. The ladies [Keeping Well NWL Service] who run the CBT course are knowledgeable, sympathetic, and understanding.”

She found continuing communication and support with the group has also made a positive impact in her recovery.

She said: “Meeting others in a similar work environment, suffering with similar symptoms whom you can speak with openly, as they truly understand, is invaluable. Our group have set up a WhatsApp page so although we have finished the course, we can contact each other for support and updates on how each of us is doing.”

We run three different groups on offer to support NHS and care staff in North West London affected:

  • Long Covid CBT recovery group (8 week online course)
  • Monthly peer support group
  • Monthly mindfulness group

If you're looking for more Long Covid resources, click here.

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