19 February 2021

Photograph: Mixed race female sitting on bed in hotel room with her laptop computer looking at travel ticket.

ELFT's Newham Talking Therapies service is providing mental health support to passengers in quarantine hotels in the borough. London City Airport is one of the designated airports receiving flights from one of the 33 'red list' countries for UK nationals returning to the country.

On arrival, passengers arriving from these countries will be taken to government-sanctioned hotels for a quarantine period of ten days. This is part of the Government's measures to close the UK's borders to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus. 

Being isolated in one room will be challenging and will have an impact on their mental health wellbeing so the Newham Talking Therapies (IAPT) team came up a plan.

The team are offering a range of online sessions and workshops on mindfulness, sleep hygiene, worry management, managing irritability alongside many other topics that might come to the fore. The team have also developed a specific Quarantine Wellbeing workshop to support hotel guests to pace themselves and cope with the imposed break to their usual activities. 

Yasmin Long, Community Engagement lead for the service said, "Ten days is a long time to be on your own or in close proximity to another person without a break. Everyone is different. We want to help them to develop strategies to manage this time and do what they need to do to be able to cope and stay on top. We can also monitor if someone is particularly vulnerable or moving towards a mental health crisis, to step in at an early stage."

The hotel will add this information, including website details, online social events and current posters to all their welcome packs for guests. Additionally, the hotel has a wellbeing page accessible on TVs in all rooms that is interactive with a link or a QR code to enable guests to register for a session. The team are also liaising with London City Airport to look at supporting their staff with a similar approach. 

The idea for extending the service to Newham's temporary hotel residents was John Rookes', Director of Delivery, Newham Health and Care Partnership. He said, “I am delighted to see the rapid mobilisation of support services to our new residents in the quarantine hotel in Newham. It’s great to see another example of how Newham’s health and care partnership responding to the needs of local people. ELFT is offering proactive support for mental health and wellbeing for the hotel guests as they do every day for our local residents.” 

The services on offer are open to all residents in Newham. The Newham Talking Therapies team have been supporting many during the pandemic and during lockdown with online sessions, workshops and videos to help people process what is happening, find new strategies to manage how they feel and find ways to keep their mood steady in these strange times.

You can view all of the options on their website: https://newhamtalkingtherapies.nhs.uk/ You can refer yourself to the service using their online form or call on: 020 8475 8080

Or you can view this short film promoting the services available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XGCdsHqPi0&feature=emb_logo