Employee information - Health and Wellbeing

Looking after your mental health during covid-19

It is really important to look after your mental health during the current pandemic and its natural to feel anxious about what is happening.

Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks during this time. 

Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.

Remember it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too. Or you can use one of these helplines and support groups for expert advice. Link to: NHS recommended helpline

You can download a guide to looking after your mental health during Covid-19 from 'Every Life Matters' the guide contains practical information about things you can do now to look after your mental health and wellbeing, and how you can support others. 

Link to: Every life matters Covid-19 Guide

Link to: Every Life Matters

  • Further support can be found on the tabs below

It's good to talk…new wellbeing and coaching support line

Over the past few weeks, we have all had to adapt and change the way we live and work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and you may be finding this overwhelming and also challenging.

  • Are you now working remotely from home and feeling isolated?
  • Have you been redeployed into a new role to support front line staff and finding it difficult to adapt?
  • Are you a front line work worker and feeling anxious?

The county council already has some really great, well-established support systems in place to help you including your line managers, the People Management team and Occupational Health colleagues, and on top of this we now have a new network of workplace wellbeing and coaching champions.

It can sometimes help to have someone to speak to about an issue or concern to try and help make sense of things. At times having someone to listen to you is a solution in itself. The wellbeing and coaching champions can be reached on a dedicated support line or inbox which gives you a safe and confidential space to have these conversations should you need to.

We absolutely recognise that everyone is being affected by these challenging times in different ways and there is no perfect list or solution that covers every situation. What we can say though, is that in addition to the usual systems, our trained coaches are ready and available to hear from you.  

The new support line will be available throughout the Covid-19 crisis, which you can call upon as a listening ear and where appropriate the champions can signpost you to other available support sources.

You can contact the team, confidentially, on wellbeingandcoachingsupport@cumbria.gov.uk or call 01228 226119 between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

A co-ordinator will take your contact details and arrange for you to be called back by one of the coaches at a time that works for you.

Remember, support is only ever just a call away. So don't be afraid to ask for help. We are here to help you…

Urgent mental healthcare

Whether you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, details of where you can go for help and advice can be found on the attached guidance document and also from the Cumbria NHS Website.

Who to contact if you need urgent support in a crisis (DOC 26.7KB)

Cumbria NHS - First step 

Cumbria NHS - In a Crisis

If a person's mental or emotional state gets worse quickly, this can be called a mental health emergency or mental health crisis. In this situation, it's important to get help quickly to stop the person harming themselves or others.

Mental health emergencies can include:

  • threats of suicide or self-harm 
  • self-neglect, such as stopping eating or drinking 
  • aggressive behaviour 
  • being extremely distressed 
  • going missing

In an emergency, you may need to contact someone for help. The care plan of the person you care for (usually drawn up under the Care Programme Approach if they have severe mental health problems) should contain details of who to contact in a mental health emergency. 

If this isn't in their care plan, call their GP first. For urgent advice or treatment when your GP surgery is closed contact NHS111. 

If you think there is any immediate danger, call 999. 

If the person you care for has written something on Facebook about struggling to cope or suicide and you can't contact them, you can report the suicidal content to Facebook. Facebook will put Samaritans in touch with the distressed friend to offer their expert support.

Please find below details of Mental Health support services. 


Mind Provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. Sometimes talking things through or hearing a supportive voice can give you the extra strength to find a way forward.

Mindline Cumbria

Telephone: 0300 561 0000


Samaritans are here round the clock, every single day of the year. They support anyone who needs them through 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Whatever you're going through, call them free any time, from any phone on 116 123. Round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Telephone: 116 123


Support after suicide

How to support someone who has been bereaved and affected by suicide.

Finding the words

Carlisle Eden Mind The Lighthouse

6pm to 11pm every night of the year.

Telephone: 0300 561 0000.

The Lighthouse is a calm, safe and comfortable place for people in Carlisle and Eden to visit when they are experiencing crisis, feeling unsafe or finding it hard to cope. We are open 6pm to 11pm, every night of the year, when most other services are closed. At The Lighthouse you can talk to one of our crisis support workers - time to be listened to or to explore together ways to feel safe and strategies to help you cope with your crisis. Some people simply use The Lighthouse as a calm and safe place to have some time out, a sanctuary while the feelings pass. Others find support through talking to people in a similar situation as them.

You are welcome to visit The Lighthouse as often as feels useful to you, though we do stress that we are here for your worst times. Many people visit The Lighthouse once, or a small number of times until their crisis has passed. Others use the service for a longer period of time, for out-of-hours support with serious mental health problems or because their lives are very difficult. We welcome both of these, and anything in between. The service is confidential. We won't tell anyone about your visit unless you ask us to - except in exceptional circumstances.

The Lighthouse is a place to find sanctuary and support in times of crisis. A calm, welcoming and safe place where you can get one-to-one support, the chance to talk about what's going on for you, to look at ways of coping and keeping yourself safe and to find out more about what other services locally might support you.

At The Lighthouse we can offer you:

  • a safe environment where you will be listened to with warmth and understanding, and you won't be judged
  • a chance to look at ways of coping with your crisis and keeping yourself safe 
  • information about mental health and other places to get support 

Visits to The Lighthouse are by appointment only. If you feel in crisis and would like to visit The Lighthouse, you can ring and refer yourself on 0300 561 0000.

We will ask you a few questions about how you're feeling and what's going on for you. If you've visited The Lighthouse before please call us first to request a further visit. We are based in Carlisle City Centre, close to both the central bus and train stations. Our staff will give you directions when you call.

If we are full, or if you'd prefer not to come to The Lighthouse, our MindLine staff are available to provide crisis support over the phone every night until 11pm.

The Cumbria Support Directory contains an A to Z list of all local health and wellbeing initiatives available throughout Cumbria. The Directory contains information relating to services that help people live longer, feel healthier and be happier.

It is important to note that the site contains information relating to a full range of health and wellbeing services and not all of these will be of interest.

However by browsing the directory, you will find contact details of counselling services, groups, sessions and resources for people going through a period of change and / or challenge.  

The Cumbria Support Directory

The Occupational Health Service operates an employee self-referral scheme for counselling.
Please note counselling can be provided to employees as an interim measure of support while the employee seeks longer term treatment and support through their GP. Once your referral has been triaged then you will be refereed to a counsellor initially for up to four sessions.
To access the scheme please read the guidance below first and then log into the eOPAS portal.
Self Referral for Counselling Portal Guidance (DOC 3.5MB) 
Occupational Health Portal

If you have any difficulties please call the Occupational Health Service on 01768 812556.

This guidance has been developed to provide a resource for anyone who is supporting a member of staff with a mental health problem and to promote understanding and remove stigma around mental health.

Mental Health Support (DOC 241KB)

During the global coronavirus pandemic we are facing a tragic loss of life, often under very difficult circumstances.

Bereaved people may have to deal with increased trauma, and may be cut off from some of their usual support network. Those who are already struggling with bereavement, or whose relatives or friends die through other causes will also be affected.

Below are a number of different sources of information and support which may be off help to you. 

Additional information is available under the Financial Wellbeing section. 


Specific advice for dealing with bereavement during the Corona pandemic. Link to: Cruse

NHS - Fact sheet 

Bereavement fact sheet and support. Link to: NHS Factsheet


General advice fact sheet for dealing with grief. Link to: Mind Factsheet

Dying Matters 

Useful factsheets that contain practical advice particularly around talking to others about your or their wishes. Link to: Dying Matters

WAY - Widowed and Young

Support for anyone who has lost their partner before their 51st birthday. Link to: WAY

NHS - Children 

Supporting children through bereavement. Link to: Supporting Children 

Child Bereavement UK

Support for children and young people up to 25 when they lose a loved one. Link to: Child Bereavement 

NHS - Young People

Supporting young people through bereavement. Link to: NHS Support for young people 

Domestic Abuse Support Services during Covid-19

If you or someone you know is at risk or experiencing abuse, help and support is available. A list of support services can be found on the link below. 

Link to: Domestic Abuse Support Services Leaflet 

Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behavior between people in a relationship. But it isn't just physical violence - domestic abuse includes emotional, physical, sexual, financial or psychological abuse.

Abusive behavior can occur in any relationship. It can continue even after the relationship has ended. Both men and women can be abused or abusers.

Domestic abuse can seriously harm children and young people. Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships. 

Domestic abuse useful websites (DOC 167KB)

Domestic abuse poster (DOC 76KB)

Domestic abuse national helplines (DOC 178KB)

Change in the workplace can cause stress, especially when an organisation goes through a period of major change that will involve redundancies.

Stress is not an illness - it is a condition. However, if stress becomes excessive and prolonged an individual may get to the stage where they feel unable to cope with the pressures they are experiencing. As a consequence they may experience mental or physical symptoms.

The health and safety executive have listed some of the signs and symptoms that may indicate stress and a need to seek further help.

HSE website "Stress at work"

If you start to feel that your levels of stress are getting too much, it is important that you get the help and support you need. Work-related stress is a workplace hazard and like any other hazard it is important that you report any concerns to your Line Manager as soon as possible so they are able to take any necessary actions to help to support you at an early stage.

Where can I access further information and support?

There are other sources of help and support available.

Your own GP

Your own GP should be contacted if you are experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression. Besides being able to help address your symptoms they are a valuable source of help and information.

NHS Choices - stress, anxiety and depression

NHS Choices provides online information and links to both online and local community resources. Some useful links can be found below: 


Be Drinkaware by visiting this useful resource on alcohol consumption and links with stress. Drinkaware

Occupational Health Service

Your manager may arrange an appointment with the Council's occupational health service so they can assess your levels of stress and provide advice and guidance on the support you need and the services available to you.

Macmillan at Work

Cancer affects many people at work. Macmillian Cancer Support state that more than 112,000 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer in the UK each year. There are more than 750,000 people of working age living with a cancer diagnosis. Many will continue to work after, or even through, their treatment. Macmillian estimates that in the UK, 327 people of working age are diagnosed with cancer every day.

Cumbria County Council recognises that being supportive to employees affected by cancer can make huge difference to them as they go through this difficult time. If you are affected by Cancer please speak to your line manager to discuss the support options available to you.

For support, guidance and information for managers and employees please call Macmillian Cancer Support for free on 0808 808 00 00 (Monday to Friday 9am-8pm) or visit macmillian.org.uk/work. We have identified some useful documents below as well as links to the Macmillan at Work website.

Cancer support toolkit

We currently hold a number of Work and Cancer Toolkits which can assist line managers to support employees or employees themselves. The Toolkit includes information on managing colleagues affected by cancer, support for people living with cancer whilst employed and for individuals working whilst caring for someone with cancer. 

There are a limited number of toolkits available from People Management however, you can register with Macmillan at Work to receive a toolkit.

Join Macmillan at Work

Macmillan at Work website

The Macmillan at Work website has a lot of helpful tools and information and we have identified some useful links below.

Understanding page this section includes information on types of cancer, different treatment options, possible symptoms and diagnosis.

Organising page here you will find how to get assistance with finances, managing work, future planning and much more.

Treating page this page includes support on how to choose treatment options, what different types of treatments there are and future planning.

Coping page this page gives advice and assistance on how to cope with emotional, relationship and health changes.

The Macmillan Cancer Information Library Project is a joint venture between Macmillan Cancer Support, North Cumbria NHS Trust and Cumbria County Council's library service, to make information about cancer more widely available to the public.

The project libraries have dedicated shelving and leaflet holders and a wide range of free Macmillan leaflets to take away, as well as library books on cancer awareness, and titles which offer advice on diet, lifestyle, and mental attitude as well as practical information and guidance on living with cancer.

Some of the libraries also offer drop-in sessions staffed by trained Macmillan information and support volunteers. (The project has been made possible thanks to a grant from Macmillan.)

The 19 Macmillan project libraries are: Alston (leaflets only), Barrow, Carlisle, Cleator Moor, Dalton, Grange-over-Sands, Kendal, Keswick (leaflets only), Kirkby Lonsdale, Maryport, Millom, Penrith, Roose, Ulverston, Walney, Whitehaven, Wigton, Windermere, Workington.

Resources: this section contains signposting to other sources of support, toolkits, and research. It also includes accessibility tools so you can receive information in different formats and languages.

Resources page

The website also offers the facility to sign up and create a profile, this will then give you access to their online community. The Online Community offers the chance to seek support from others in similar circumstances to you by sharing experiences and asking questions; there is also the facility to Ask an Expert.

Sign up to Macmillan at Work 

If you require any further information or assistance, please contact the People Management Team on (01228) 221231 or submit a ticket through the People Management Portal.

This policy is a positive strategy to address alcohol and substance related problems/ abuse at work. It sets out the approach to the identification, support arrangements and management action which the Council will take.

Alcohol and substance use procedure (DOC 270KB)

Need Advice?

If you would like advice, please contact the People Management Service via the People Management Portal and a member of the team will be in contact with you as soon as possible.

Getting help

If you're concerned about your drinking or someone else's, a good first step is to visit your GP. They'll be able to discuss the services and treatments available.

As well as the NHS, there are a number of charities and support groups across the UK that provide support and advice for people with an alcohol misuse problem.

For example, you may want to contact:

Alcohol Concern

  • Alcoholics Anonymous - helpline 0845 769 7555 
  • Al-Anon Family Groups - helpline 020 7403 0888
  • Drinkaware - runs the national drink helpline, Drinkline on 0300 123 1110

For a full list of charities and support groups, see our page on alcohol support.

If you are a member of a Trade Union you may also wish to contact them for support. Details of the Green Book Trade Unions which are formally recognised by the County Council are given below:




Cliff Evans

Telephone: 07921 257154



Ryan Armstrong


Wellness Actions Plans (WAPs) are an easy, practical way of helping you to support your own mental health at work, and if you are a manager, helping you to support the mental health of your team members.

Everyone can complete a WAP, you don't need to have a mental health problem in order to feel the benefits. It just means that you already have practical steps in place to ensure you are supported when you aren't feeling great.

We have two guides available, both with a WAP template which you can fill in electronically: 

  • Our Guide for line managers is for managers or supervisors who are interested in introducing WAPs to their team members 
  • Our Guide for employees is for any member of staff who would like to try a WAP for themselves and introduce the idea of using WAPs to their manager or supervisor

Wellness action plan

Covid -19 Update from the Money Advice Service

April 2020

The Money Advice Service have added a guide to their website. Link to: Coronavirus and what it means for you

As well as information you can start a webchat. Link to: Start a webchat or call Telephone: 0800 138 1677

If you have any questions about claiming Universal Credit you can talk in complete confidence to an adviser who can support you through the process. 
Link to: Citizens Advice Help to Claim

Money Advice Service 

The money advice service is Free and impartial money advice, set up by government. It includes

  • advice and guides to help improve your finances
  • Tools and calculators to help keep track and plan ahead
  • Support over the phone and online

There is a wealth of information available on the Government funded website. Link to: Money Advice Service

You can find help to plan for any changes to your financial situation. The site covers many topics for those facing redundancy such as saving for redundancy, unemployment insurance, Benefits and tax credits, Tax rebates, entitlements and how to claim. 

Citizens Advice Covid-19 Update 

April 2020

Most local Citizens Advice aren't giving face to face advice to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Link to: Online advice about what coronavirus means for you

They might still be able to help by phone, email or online chat. Link to: Contact your nearest Citizens Advice

Chat lets you talk to a trained adviser online. You can:

Talk to us about a debt problem - we can usually help between 8am and 7pm, Monday to Friday 

Talk to us about any other kind of problem - we can usually help between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday

Or you can contact an adviser through their national phone service,  

Adviceline: 03444 111 444

Text relay: 03444 111 445

The latest updates from Your Pension Service

Link to: Your Pension Service News 

Cumbria Local Government Pension Scheme is open to all employees apart from teaching staff or uniformed fire fighters who have their own pension schemes. Pensions form a valuable element of an employee's remuneration package and you are now able to access your own Local Government Pension Scheme membership record securely from the Your Pension Service website. Link to: Your Pension Service Website

Your Pension online - Member Self Service

Member Self Service is now available, please follow the link to register/sign in. Link to: how to register/sign in


Cumbria's Pensions Service is administered by Your Pension Service, the pensions department of Lancashire County Council on behalf of Cumbria County Council. For pension queries please email askpensions@localpensionspartnership.org.uk or Telephone: 0300 323 0260 (8am to 6pm).

If you'd prefer to write to them their postal address is:

LPP - Your Pension Service, PO Box 1382, PRESTON, PR2 0WQ

Death Grant Nomination

Have you made a nomination to ensure that in the event of your death, any death grant payable, is made to the right person(s)? The nomination form can be found under the Guides, Leaflets and Forms section of the website or alternatively sign into your online account where you will find it under Guides and Documents. 

Link to: Nomination Form 

What are Credit Unions?

Credit Unions are community savings and loans cooperatives. They offer members the chance to save regularly and to access great value, low interest loans linked to the value of their savings.

Who are Credit Unions For?

Credit unions are open to everyone who lives or work in the areas that they serve regardless of your level of personal household income. If you want to benefit from saving on a regular basis and being able to borrow money at a low interest rate then join your local credit union today.

What are the Community Benefits of Credit Unions?

Credit Unions are financial cooperatives owned and controlled by their members and are run by and for local people. Any financial surpluses from a credit union go towards developing the credit union and / or are returned to local members through a dividend. The only shareholders are therefore the local members who use its services. Credit unions are therefore local, ethical and of benefit to local residents and the wider local community that the money is retained within. 

Credit unions offer an alternative to getting into financial difficulties from taking out high Annual Percentage Rate interest loans from legal doorstep lenders, payday advance services or illegal loan sharks.

For more information follow the Link to: Cumbria Credit Unions website

Use our map to find out more about your local credit union. Link to: Find your nearest Credit Union

Dying Matters

It's not a subject we tend to talk about but we will all die, whether expectedly or not. When we prepare for our own death in advance, we are able to relieve the decision making burden on those whom we love and also potentially avoid some of the financial difficulties that families can experience. It is also a good time to think about some of the practical steps that you can take to ease any burden on your family.  There are some simple things that you can do such as: 

  • Make sure that your pension information is up to date and complete a death nomination form
  • Think about your funeral, have you thought about whether you would prefer to be buried or cremated? Perhaps you would like a green funeral rather than a more traditional one
  • Write your will

Terminal illness

If you are a manager and have a member of staff who has been diagnosed as being terminally ill we have additional information on how the People Management and Occupational Health teams can provide additional support where time is a critical factor.  Please see the Ill Health Fast Track procedure and contact People Management as soon as possible. Ill Health Fast Track Page

Funeral Plans

There are many things to think about and decide when arranging a funeral. It is often a difficult time for family and friends who are dealing with loss. A funeral is also, to some people's surprise, a lot more expensive than they thought, often costing thousands of pounds. Money Advice Service can give you a breakdown of costs and suggest a few ways to help you plan a good but affordable funeral. Funeral Plans

Making a will

A will makes it much easier for your family or friends to sort everything out when you die - without a will the process can be more time consuming and stressful. If you don't write a will, everything you own will be shared out in a standard way defined by the law - which isn't always the way you might want. A will can help reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax that might be payable on the value of the property and money you leave behind. Writing a will is especially important if you have children or other family who depend on you financially, or if you want to leave something to people outside your immediate family.
Visit money advice service for more information on why you should make a will and what your options might be. Money Advice Service Making a will

Trade Unions - Free will writing service

Trade unions offer a free will writing service as part of their membership. Speak to your trade union representative if you would like to find out more about this. If you are a member of a Trade Union you may also wish to contact them for support. 

Contact Details

Green Book Trade Unions which are formally recognised by the County Council are given below:

GMB email: gmbbranchsecretary@gmail.com

Unison - Cliff Evans, Telephone: 07921 257154 or email: cliff.evans@unisoncumbria.co.uk

Unite - Ryan Armstrong, email: ryan.Armstrong@unitetheunion.org

Money Saving Expert

Link to: Free Mental Health & Debt guide

There is a free 44-page PDF booklet supported by Mind, Rethink, CAPUK and others, for people with mental health problems and those caring for them.

It covers how to handle debts when unwell, work with banks, free debt counselling, specific tips for bipolar disorder or depression sufferers, whether to declare a condition and more.