Supporting wellbeing within the primary care workforce while helping patients to better self-manage their mental health

Supporting wellbeing within the primary care workforce while helping patients to better self-manage their mental health image

Home » Supporting wellbeing within the primary care workforce while helping patients to better self-manage their mental health

he ever-increasing pressure on primary care services in England has been well documented in recent times. NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board (BLMK ICB) recognised this issue and wanted a solution that could help to manage the wellbeing of the primary care workforce.

A collaboration between BLMK ICB, NHS digital transformation experts, Arden & GEM, and evidence-based mental health tool developers ShinyMind, resulted in the Shine Programme. This initiative has improved both the wellbeing and resilience of the primary care workforce while simultaneously enabling patients to better self-manage their mental health.

The challenge

The NHS Fuller Stocktake report recognises an urgent need to address the increasing demand upon primary care services to provide proactive and personalised care. It also highlighted that “primary care teams are stretched beyond capacity, with staff morale at a record low” – a challenge we were keen to address.

In addition, with mental health issues affecting 1 in 4 people, we also recognised the need to invest more in mental health support for the local population. This was particularly prudent in supporting people with long term conditions given that poor mental health is the most common co-morbidity for this cohort of patients.

The approach

The overall aim of the project was to simultaneously support the primary care workforce’s wellbeing while helping Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes patients to better self-manage their health. This was achieved via the Shine Programme – a unique solution that utilises an evidence-based mental health digital tool, ShinyMind.

The Shine Programme was designed as a wellbeing initiative for both patients and primary care staff and includes three key elements: the ShinyMind app, a customised ‘prescribing’ portal and a training programme for ‘prescribers’.

The ShinyMind app, which was originally developed for and co-created with NHS staff, blends science and research to offer users interactive exercises, advice and resources that improve wellbeing and resilience. Each practice taking part in the programme was given licences for their staff in addition to 500 annual patient licences.

The programme targeted citizens aged over 18, including those experiencing anxiety and depression, living with long-term conditions or facing the greatest health inequalities. This included access to specific ‘LifePacks’ (e.g.. coping with anxiety and mental wellness) matched to the needs of patients to personalise support and enable better self-management of health conditions.

The outcomes

The first phase of the programme, which launched in 2021, has been successful with feedback from both patients and staff collected through completion of a confidential research questionnaire.

It has addressed multiple objectives including streamlining access to care and advice, providing more proactive personalised for those with multiple long-term conditions, helping people to stay well for longer through prevention, and utilising digital solutions to drive population health management.

The programme has widened access to primary care services by expanding the workforce able to prescribe support to those suffering with poor mental health who aren’t at the threshold to receive traditional mental health support.

Staff findings and feedback:

  • 91% improvement in wellbeing
  • 73% increase in productivity at work
  • 64% greater likelihood to continue working in primary care
  • 73% increase in job satisfaction
  • 64% increase in feeling their work makes a difference.

“Very beneficial not only for patients but for myself”

“Really excited to implement this wonderful programme”

Patient findings and feedback:

  • 60% thought the app helped them feel at least a little bit better and would like to keep the app
  • 83% said they felt it would benefit other patients
  • 28% improvement in life satisfaction scores after 6 weeks
  • 17% improvement in anxiety scores (GAD) after 6 weeks
  • Significantly fewer days feeling anxious or worrying.

“I go on here when I am anxious and makes me feel like I’ve dropped lots of weight off my shoulders – love, love this app.”

“Using this anywhere is helpful, it has made me feel less alone in dealing with stuff, and when I’m stressed it’s like a go to dealing with it. I have been surprised how much it has helped me.”

“For me it’s shown me the right path of the start of a new life.”

You can find more information about ShinyMind on their website here –

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