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Coping with COVID podcast
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Coping with COVID podcast

Author: Dr Helen West and Dr Suzi Gage, Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool

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A podcast focusing on practical ways to look after your mental wellbeing, applying evidence-based approaches to real life situations. Whilst primarily aimed at medical, nursing and allied health students working in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope it will be helpful for anyone adapting to difficult change at the moment.



We’d like the podcast to respond to the challenges you’re facing, so please let us know your questions and concerns at covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk
38 Episodes
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In this episode Helen is joined by Shivani, who graduated in Medicine in 2021. Shivani looks back on her experiences of 5th year, and how reflection and journaling unexpectedly helped her cope with lockdowns and difficult situations on placement.
Niamh graduated in Medicine in 2021 and was Wellbeing rep for LivPsych last year. Last Christmas, she wrote a blogpost about the “12 Days of Wellbeing”, including the Ultimate Boxing Day Sandwich: https://mindinconversation.wordpress.com/2020/12/23/niamhs-12-days-of-wellbeing/ If you’re a medical, nursing or AHP student, and you’d like to talk on the podcast about your experiences of working or studying during the COVID-19 pandemic, please get in touch with us. Contact us at: covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk
35: Vaccination

35: Vaccination

2021-11-2524:52

Medical students have made a vital contribution to the COVID vaccination programme in Liverpool There have been lots of challenges along the way, but it has transformed many people’s lives and is changing how healthcare is delivered. In this episode Helen talks to Aileen, who recently graduated in medicine and worked as a vaccinator, and Rachel Stead who coordinates the programme. The Guardian article Rachel refers to is here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/04/inspiring-confidence-liverpool-gps-tackle-the-vaccine-race-gap Episode 21 has more discussion about COVID misinformation and conspiracy theories.
After a break in podcast episodes, we’re back with a second series. Things are very different to when we were releasing podcast episodes before, but we are still “Coping with COVID” in various ways. In this episode, Helen is joined by Henry, who recently graduated in Medicine. He talks about some of the situations he found most difficult during his final year, and the feeling of having ‘missed out’ that I’m sure many of us can relate to. If you’re a medical, nursing or AHP student, and you’d like to talk on the podcast about your experiences of working or studying during the COVID-19 pandemic, please get in touch with us. Contact us at: covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk If you need support, here are a few of our recommendations: School of Medicine Wellbeing Team (for medical students at the University of Liverpool) wellbeing.mbchb@liverpool.ac.uk University of Liverpool Student Support Services (for nursing, AHP and other students at the University of Liverpool) https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/studentsupport/ Employee Assistance Programme (for staff at the University of Liverpool) https://staff.liverpool.ac.uk/our-workplace-and-community/support-and-development/employee-assistance-programme/) NHS Staff Support Line https://people.nhs.uk/help/ Samaritans free phoneline: 116 123   jo@samaritans.org   www.samaritans.org
Helen discusses resilience with Dr Warren Donnellan. Warren talks about the ecological model of resilience and identifying the resources that can help us through challenging times. Here are links to the two papers that Warren refers to in the podcast: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13607863.2014.977771?journalCode=camh20 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13607863.2016.1209734 Here are two podcast episodes in which Warren discusses carer resilience in particular: https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/podcast/episode/210f92f1/bonus-research-episode-dr-warren-donnellan https://www.buzzsprout.com/775076/5723926-6-dr-warren-donnellan
In this episode, Helen is joined by Etienne, a third year diagnostic radiography student who has worked and been on placement in the NHS during COVID-19. We talked about how placements have been different during the pandemic, and what parts of the experience have stood out for her. If you’re a medical, nursing or AHP student, and you’d like to talk on the podcast about your experiences of working or studying, please get in touch with us at: covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk If you need support, here are a few of our recommendations: School of Medicine Wellbeing Team (for medical students at the University of Liverpool) wellbeing.mbchb@liverpool.ac.uk University of Liverpool Student Support Services (for nursing, allied health and other students at the University of Liverpool) https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/studentsupport/ Employee Assistance Programme (for staff at the University of Liverpool) https://staff.liverpool.ac.uk/our-workplace-and-community/support-and-development/employee-assistance-programme/) NHS Staff Support Line https://people.nhs.uk/help/ Samaritans free phoneline: 116 123 jo@samaritans.org  https://www.samaritans.org
In this episode, Helen talks to Danny Blair, a Lecturer in Radiotherapy at the University of Liverpool. They discuss the importance of social connections, how the Radiotherapy Department have been supporting students during COVID-19, and Danny shares his tips for hosting a great Zoom quiz. We’d love to hear your feedback and experiences. You can contact us at covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk Mentioned in this episode: • MacArthur, K. R., & Sikorski, J. (2020). A qualitative analysis of the coping reservoir model of pre-clinical medical student well-being: Human connection as making it “worth it.” BMC Medical Education, 20(1). https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12909-020-02067-8 • Kahoot! Quiz software https://kahoot.com/ • Chocolate bar cross-sections quiz https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8251229/The-great-chocdown-quiz.html The following support services are available over the Christmas holidays: • Student Space - https://studentspace.org.uk/wellbeing/the-christmas-break call free between 3pm and 12am every day on 0808 189 5260 • PAPYRUS is the UK Charity for the prevention of young suicide (under 35). For PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK call 0800 068 4141 (open 9am - midnight every day of the week) • You can text SHOUT https://giveusashout.org/ free of charge from any UK mobile network and get confidential advice and support straight to your mobile • If you are ill, you can contact your GP, or visit a Walk In Centre or pharmacy. Information and advice about NHS services is available at https://www.nhs.uk/. If you need help now, but it’s not an emergency, visit https://111.nhs.uk/ or call 111. • If you need to talk to someone in confidence the Samaritans https://www.samaritans.org/ have a 24 hour line which is free to call: 116 123.
30: Going outside

30: Going outside

2020-12-1517:10

In this episode, Helen is joined by Dr Dean Burnett, a neuroscientist and author. They talk about the effect on our mental wellbeing of spending time outdoors or with a view of nature, and the new appreciation many of us have for going outside after lockdown and self-isolation. We’d love to hear your feedback and experiences. You can contact us at covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk • A blogpost by Dean on The Benefits of Outside https://cosmicshambles.com/words/blogs/deanburnett/mental-health-hacks-three • The study Dean mentioned about greenspace, mental health and COVID-19: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/eap.2248 • A study looking at mental health, lockdown severity, and access to outdoor spaces during COVID-19: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896972037515X Books by Dean: • Psycho-Logical https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Dean-Burnett/Psycho-Logical--Why-Mental-Health-Goes-Wrong---and-How-to-Make-Sense-of-It/25440016 or on Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Psycho-logical-Audiobook/B07XTN8J38?qid=1607943221&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=c6e316b8-14da-418d-8f91-b3cad83c5183&pf_rd_r=VX01CXB1QQ8T41VBP4AT • The Happy Brain https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Dean-Cardiff-University-Burnett/Happy-Brain--Where-Happiness-Comes-From-and-Why/23092199 • The Idiot Brain https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Dean-Burnett/The-Idiot-Brain--A-Neuroscientist-Explains-What-Your-Head-is-Really-Up-To/20508227
Helen is joined by Professor Vicky Karkou, Director for the Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing at Edge Hill University. Lots of us have been dancing, singing, painting, cooking, gardening, and doing craft projects during COVID-19. In this episode we talk about how arts and creativity benefit our mental wellbeing, the research evidence in this area, and how they can be used therapeutically. You can contact us at covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk Mentioned in this episode: The Arts for the Blues website is here: https://artsfortheblues.com/ Publications (including the Cochrane reviews mentioned in the episode) are listed here: https://artsfortheblues.com/publications
In this episode, Helen is joined by Professor Laurence Alison and Emily Alison, to revisit the topic of resilience (episode 2). We talk about the four pillars of resilience: health, purpose, joy and feedback, and think about strategies to help us keep going after months of challenges and uncertainty. More information about resilience and stress, including the content by Colonel Steve Kleinman, can be found on the Project ARES website: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/project-ares/ To find out more about resilience, this is a link to an article exploring these concepts: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4185134/ We’d like the podcast to respond to the challenges you’re facing, so please get in touch with your questions and concerns at covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk
In this episode, Helen is joined by Luke, a junior doctor who worked as a sub-FY1 in the NHS at the end of his final year of medical school. We talked about what it’s been like, the things that have helped him to cope, and the importance of looking out for each other. If you’re a medical, nursing or AHP student, and you’d like to talk on the podcast about your experiences of working or studying during the COVID-19 pandemic, please get in touch with us. Contact us at: covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk If you need support, here are a few of our recommendations: School of Medicine Wellbeing Team (for medical students at the University of Liverpool) wellbeing.mbchb@liverpool.ac.uk University of Liverpool Student Support Services (for nursing, allied health and other students at the University of Liverpool) https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/studentsupport/ Employee Assistance Programme (for staff at the University of Liverpool) https://staff.liverpool.ac.uk/our-workplace-and-community/support-and-development/employee-assistance-programme/) NHS Staff Support Line https://people.nhs.uk/help/ Samaritans free phoneline: 116 123  jo@samaritans.org www.samaritans.org
In this episode Suzi speaks to Tom West, head of operations in one of the University’s institutes, about how he changed how he consumed news, after finding it was impacting on his mental health. This includes an exploration of the evidence around how news can affect us, strategies he found worked for him, and how the COVID-19 pandemic interfered with these. Some useful links: Here’s the initial findings from the UCL study Tom mentions “Increased time spent on following news about COVID 19 predicted declines in mental health and wellbeing” https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.18.20177345v1 Which is taken from a whole amazing longitudinal research study, with regular reports on the data along the way: https://www.covidsocialstudy.org/ A couple of articles on why we tend to view the current state of the world more negatively, but view the past through a positive bias, which makes us feel that everything is getting worse, and the role the news plays in this dynamic. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/09/why-2020-feels-like-the-worst-year-ever/ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-modern-brain/201909/how-negative-news-distorts-our-thinking Also, for people who are trying to engage critically with the news in an age of relentless conspiracy theories https://www.snopes.com/ is an excellent fact checking website. It’s quite heavily US-orientated, but it’s a great way to very quickly check whether a wild claim is true, and undertakes some excellent analysis of the origin and spread of certain conspiracy theories (https://www.snopes.com/news/2020/10/15/film-your-hospital-the-anatomy-of-a-covid-19-conspiracy-theory/)
Suzi and Helen look back on the highlights and challenges of starting a podcast in a pandemic. Find out why we created the podcast, what we’ve learnt, our plans for the future, and how this podcast has helped our mental health. We love hearing your feedback, ideas and questions: our email address is covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk
Medical students and graduates share what they wish someone had told them when they started medical school. We’ve made this episode particularly for the first-year medics starting University during COVID restrictions, but I think it’s useful for us all to reflect on what we’ve learnt about looking after our mental health. Thank you so much to everyone who sent in audio clips for this episode. Also, Dr Luke Flain for finding contributors, and Dr Suzi Gage for editing. If you’d like to get in touch, our email address is covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk If you need support, here are a few of our recommendations: School of Medicine Wellbeing Team (for medical students at the University of Liverpool) wellbeing.mbchb@liverpool.ac.uk University of Liverpool Student Support Services (for nursing, allied health and other students at the University of Liverpool) https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/studentsupport/ NHS Staff Support Line https://people.nhs.uk/help/ Samaritans free phoneline: 116 123 jo@samaritans.org www.samaritans.org
In this episode, Helen is joined by Dr Richard Latten, Consultant in Palliative Medicine and Deputy Director of the Wellbeing Team at the University of Liverpool School of Medicine. Richard talks about his experiences working clinically during COVID-19, including uncertainty, the different phases of the pandemic, and a request from a patient. If you’d like to get in touch, our email address is covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk, we’d love to hear your feedback. The BPS briefing paper on psychological responses in healthcare staff during different phases of the pandemic is available here: https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/psychological-needs-healthcare-staff-result-coronavirus-pandemic
22: Mindfulness

22: Mindfulness

2020-10-0126:56

In this episode Helen is joined by Dr Julie Hanna, Director of Studies for the Occupational Therapy programme at the University of Liverpool. Julie talks about what mindfulness is, how it can be incorporated into your life, and why it could be particularly useful to students at the moment. The episode also includes a guided mindfulness meditation to try. References & resources mentioned in this episode: Kabat-Zinn, J. (1990, 2013) Full Catastrophe Living. London: Piatkus. Morgan, P., Simpson, J., & Smith, A. (2014). Health Care Workers’ Experiences of Mindfulness Training: a Qualitative Review. Mindfulness, 1-15, doi:10.1007/s12671-014-0313-3. Poys, W. T. M., Meulenbeek, P. A. M., Veehof, M. M. Klungers, J. and Bohlmeijer, E. T. (2014) The efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy as a Public Mental health Intervention for Adults with Mild to Moderate Depressive Symptomatology: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PloS ONE, 9 (10), 1-12 Using handwashing as a prompt for mindfulness: https://www.tenpercent.com/meditationweeklyblog/meditation-and-coronavirus The Headspace App: https://www.headspace.com/ Julie also recommends: Williams, M. and Penman, D. (2011) Mindfulness, a Practical Guide to Finding Mindfulness in a Frantic World. London: Hachette Digital Wax, R. (2016) A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled http://mindfulnessforstudents.co.uk/resources/mindfulness-resources-for-students/ http://franticworld.com/ https://www.oxfordmindfulness.org/
In this episode Suzi is joined by junior doctor and comedian Matthew Hutchinson to talk about conspiracy theories around covid, and healthcare more generally. Matt provides great insight in to why people might hold these conspiracy theories, and also offers advice on when and how to challenge them, and when it's better not to engage. Here are some links: I love this clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - offers some research and some great advice at the end https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b_eHBZLM6U Here’s a brief summary of common conspiracy theory belief structure - https://www.lse.ac.uk/PBS/Research/Research-archive/The-conspiratorial-worldview Article on speaking to conspiracy theorists - https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/07/15/1004950/how-to-talk-to-conspiracy-theorists-and-still-be-kind/
20: Ethics of Care

20: Ethics of Care

2020-09-1629:22

Helen is joined by Dr Teodora Manea Hauskeller, Lecturer in Clinical Ethics at the School of Medicine, University of Liverpool. They talk about the ethics of care during the pandemic, and how themes in the student experience episodes (5, 8, 11, 15 & 16) illustrate these concepts: considering the effects of PPE, visiting restrictions, and technology through a lens of medical ethics and philosophy. Mentioned in this episode: M. Barnes, Care in Everyday Life. An ethic of care in practice, Bristol: Policy Press, 2012. R. Barthes, Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography, tr., R. Howard, London: Vintage Books, 2000. B. Fisher, J.C. Tronto, ‘Toward a Feminist Theory of Caring’, in Circles of Care, (E.K. Abel, M. Nelson (eds), Albany: SUNY Press, 1990. A. Giddens, Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991. M. Heidegger, Being and Time, Oxford: Blackwell, 1967. V. Held, The Ethics of Care. Personal, Political and Global (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. E. Levinas, Ethics and Infinity, tr. R. Cohen, R.A. Cohen, Duquesne University Press, 1985. J.C. Tronto, Moral Boundaries. A politic argument for an ethic of care, London and New York: Routledge, 1993. * For Hundertwasser ‘skins’ see: https://hundertwasser.com/en/applied-art/apa382_mens_five_skins_1975 The new School of Medicine Ethics modules: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/medicine/study-with-us/cpd/courses-and-modules/appliedethicsforclinicalpracticei/
19: Moral Distress

19: Moral Distress

2020-09-1024:54

Suzi is joined by Vicky Thornton, who is the Head of Nursing at the University of Liverpool, to talk about moral distress and moral injury – two related concepts whereby a person feels unable to act in a way that aligns with their morals due to circumstances beyond their control - and the pressure or strain this can place on a person, as well as providing advice as to how to manage such feelings. Some recommended reading for people who want to know more: Moral Injury in Times of COVID-19 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42843-020-00011-4 Occupational Medicine editorial about covid and moral injury https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/70/5/317/5814939 BMC Medical Ethics article about covid and conflicting ethics advice https://bmcmedethics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12910-020-00491-5 Special issue on moral injury in the Journal of Traumatic Stress https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jts.22405 An article about covid and mental health impacts https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/inm.12726
In this episode, Helen is joined by Carys, who has just graduated in medicine and has been shielding during COVID-19. She talks about the challenges of shielding and how she adapted her expectations, the things that have helped her to cope and what she’s gained from something that initially felt negative and restrictive. If you’d like to get in touch with us, our email address is covidpod@liverpool.ac.uk
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