Championing Mind & Body care for patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic

To celebrate our Mind & Body Champions' third birthday, we held an awards ceremony to recognise those who have shown outstanding commitment to mind and body care.

Mind and bodyIn November 2020, our Mind & Body Champions celebrated their third birthday. Anyone across King’s Health Partners can become a Mind & Body Champion. Mind & Body Champions advocate for the importance of treating mental and physical health as one. Since 2019, more than 150 individuals across King’s Health Partners have joined our Mind & Body Champions network, taking our total to 900. To celebrate, our Mind & Body team held our Mind & Body Champions Awards. There were three award categories in total:

  • Champions for an integrated approach for patients or staff during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Champion for physical health in a mental health setting 
  • Champion for mental health in a physical health setting.

This year, Dr Sean Cross, Clinical Director of the Mind & Body Programme at King's Health Partners, led the awards ceremony, and Dr Irem Patel, our Joint Director of Clinical Strategy, and Sir Norman Lamb, Chair of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust delivered keynote speeches.

Meet our winners and hear what some had to say on receiving their awards:

Champions for an integrated approach for patients or staff during the COVID-19 pandemic

This category is for champions who went above and beyond to support the overall health and wellbeing of patients and staff as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There were four winners in this category:

Neil Rees, psychology lead, occupational therapy and team, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Neil led on a huge amount of collaborative work to support staff during COVID-19. Examples included a multidisciplinary staff wellbeing group, rest and recharge areas across the Trust, wellbeing advisers and psychological first aiders. Neil and his team also developed training for peer-to-peer support, psychological therapies in occupational health, online resources, and access to psychologists for staff in critical care and COVID-19 inpatient areas.

The judges noted Neil’s outstanding commitment and dedication to the mind and body approach to truly support all staff in the organisation. 

Neil said:

It’s a privilege to accept this award at such a difficult time. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust is a hugely complex landscape, with three large hospitals and 40 or so community sites, all affected by COVID-19, so this is a huge team effort.
In terms of our wellbeing offer, it’s been very wide ranging. It’s been to address the psychological wellbeing, as well as the spiritual, working very closely with our chaplaincy, along with the physical side, such as making sure food is available to staff working on the frontline and laundry.

Mary Docherty, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, consultant psychiatrist, and the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Staff Health and Wellbeing Team

Mary and colleagues at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust came together to create a new Staff Health and Wellbeing Team at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team created a three-tiered staff support model of psychological wellbeing and mental health support for all staff at the Trust. The team developed a range of resources, provided psychological first aid support for staff in newly created Wellbeing Hubs, and delivered training for teams and managers on COVID-19 wards and in critical care to deal with stress, uncertainty, and making difficult decisions about clinical treatment and care.

The judges commented on how a new team was developed so quickly and effectively. Also, they noted Mary’s incredible leadership and compassion, going above and beyond to deliver this work.

Mary said:

Ideally I’d like to read out 80 names of the people involved at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. What we witnessed at the Trust was the development of a whole organisation, multifunctional staff support programme, in the space of four weeks. Totally done on the back of volunteerism and care for their colleagues. It was an entire team process, of which we’re immensely proud.

Al Beck, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Director of Psychology and Psychotherapy, and team

Al and a vast range of multidisciplinary staff at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust drove an impressive effort to develop a suite of staff support resources, which included input from human resources, occupational health, the chaplaincy, and more. Resources included a staff advice and support phone line available 24/7, Rest and Recharge Hubs, in-reach to teams to support high functioning team building and online resources. Al and the team have shown a huge commitment to supporting their staff. The judges commented on the value of bringing together colleagues from such a range of backgrounds to deliver comprehensive and rapid work is impressive.

Sharon Stevelink, senior lecturer, King’s College London and Coronavirus Health and Experiences of Colleagues (CHECK) team at King's College London

The King's College London CHECK study was rapidly developed by a team of early career researchers, senior academics and clinical leads from across King’s Health Partners. It was the first large scale staff and student survey launched in the UK with the specific purpose of assessing the mental and physical health of staff and postgraduate research students. The study collects fortnightly questionnaire data and two monthly COVID-19 antibody test results of more than 2,400 participants.

Sharon and the team have shown dedication to further mind and body principles in their work. The judges also highlighted early career researchers who worked autonomously to drive the development of this important research.

On behalf of the King’s College London research CHECK team, I am delighted to accept this award. The team has made an exceptional effort to set up and implement King’s College London CHECK earlier this year.
The pandemic has really brought home how psychological, physical, social and economics factors all interact and affect our health and wellbeing. The King’s College London CHECK study tried to capture these relationships with the aim of using an integrated approach to support the wellbeing of our community.

Champion for physical health in a mental health setting 

This award is dedicated to Mind & Body Champions who have advocated for the importance of physical health in a mental healthcare setting by showing exemplary commitment to education, improving identifying unmet physical health needs, providing mind and body care, or pioneering change. The winner for this category was:

Martin Ford, mental health care coordinator and social worker at Southwark north east psychosis community service, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Martin has been a strong advocate for the value of holistic care within in his psychosis community team, regularly bringing physical health to the multidisciplinary team’s agenda. Linking with a major GP surgery to raise the profile of meaningful physical health reviews for people with severe mental illness, Martin has co-produced an agenda for GP LinkedIn meetings with the GP practice nurse and has been able to explain his team’s setting and understand the GP’s system to improve the way they work collaboratively. This relationship started two years ago and still going strong. The judges were impressed by the ongoing advocacy and commitment Martin has shown to mind and body care and in particular in linking with primary care and showing integrated care across systems.

Another individual was highly commended for the award:

Dr Rajesh Mohan, consultant psychiatrist, Lewisham, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Rajesh Mohan works in a rehabilitation service with patients with severe mental illness and high levels of physical health comorbidity. His Mind & Body work involved developing and adopting a range of interventions and initiatives, including the heather close diabetes prevention programme. This programme allows the team to work more preventatively and enables them to develop co-produced, personalised care plans for high risk patients. The judges highlighted Dr Mohan’s drive and motivation to keep pushing mind and body care through all aspects of his work. The patient-centred approach with a high degree of co-production shows his compassion for his patients.

Dr Mohan said:

It didn’t expect this, and it’s great to be acknowledged for the work we have done in a very small rehabilitation unit in the depths of Lewisham.
We have a cohort of patients who have a very long-standing psychosis and complex mental health conditions. 80% of our patients at one point had one other long-term condition. The work we did was about producing high-quality risk assessment tools, identifying who were at more risk and creating personalised care plans. Then we moved into helping patients create their own personal health passports. We had a lot of help from the local GP practice, and spent a lot of time cultivating them.
What’s really good about this service is we have a lot of medical students and trainees supporting the project. I just really hope they take what they’ve learnt with them forward. Thank you.

Champion for mental health in a physical health setting 

This category was for a Champion who has advocated for the importance of mental health in a physical healthcare setting by showing exemplary commitment to education, improving the identification of unmet mental health needs, providing mind and body care, or pioneering change. The winners in this category were:   

The Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust intensive care team.

The Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust critical care recovery clinic has historically delivered mind and body care, in part using Integrating Mental & Physical healthcare: Research, Training and Services (IMPARTS). This is a platform for collecting patient reported outcomes such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and pain, and then addressing and treating patients’ holistic needs. Despite the pandemic and the enormous amount of work the team were doing, they asked to extend the IMPARTS system to inpatients as part of their critical care recovery pathway. 

The team also worked with their ear, nose and throat (ENT) colleagues to extend their critical care recovery IMPARTS package to ease referrals to ENT colleagues for patients needing additional post ventilation support.

The team have truly embedded mind and body care in routine practice, always showing dedication, care, and compassion to support their patients and families. Their commitment to this ethos was always maintained despite very difficult and busy times during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How you can get involved:

The awards highlighted just a few examples of the great work being done to improve care for patients and colleagues’ mental and physical health, and you too can get involved.If you’re interested in becoming a Champion, simply drop an email to All are welcome; clinical or non-clinical staff, junior or senior. Our website offers several resources to get you started.

Why not start today:

Download the Mind & Body Health and Wellbeing toolkit: a set of resources to help you support the mind and body health and wellbeing of your team, from session plans to wellbeing tips.

Complete and share our e-learning module: Mind and Body Healthcare: Addressing mental and physical health needs is an interactive module that helps healthcare professionals recognise the health needs of their patients and identify the appropriate services to refer them to.

Raise awareness for joined up healthcare: our resource pack helps encourage teams to engage with the Mind & Body programme and projects that are changing our approach to healthcare.

Visit our Mind & Body homepage to learn more and find out more about the Champions network.