Mental health on the frontline

Download (PDF 21.2MB)

Summary of report content

Healthwatch Essex interviewed 72 frontline staff, including Essex police, hospital staff, and ambulance service staff, specifically around coping with mental health.

The report found that a number of factors impacted on front line staff's working life, such as traumatic events and fatalities. The working environment, and the lack of resources within it, was another cause of much stress. Frontline staff develop a range of coping mechanisms, such as the strategic mask they wear at work, to hide their struggles, developing a work-life balance that supports the challenges of the job and the negative impact of organisational sickness policies. Although some training is being carried out, there are gaps in what is offered and concerns with management is also highlighted in this section. Even when support was available, there were often barriers to accessing this, either due to stigma or attitude of management or fear felt by the individual that their referral or concern would not be kept confidential.

Healthwatch Essex made a number of recommendations relating to mental health first aid, refreshment breaks, external support, training days and occupational health.

Would you like to look at:

General details

Report title 
Mental health on the frontline
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Essex
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 9 September, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Health promotion
Holistic support
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Staff training
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Structured interview
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Inpatient care
Community services 
Urgent and emergency care services 
Ambulance services

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.