Our Executive Director Ellen O’Donoghue shares how James’ Place’s digital transition has opened new opportunities to be helpful during the coronavirus crisis.

Like all our friends, colleagues and partners we are working hard to manage a challenging set of circumstances at James’ Place. Our first priority has been to keep our life-saving service open, and it is testament to our dedicated and professional team that we have successfully moved our service entirely online. This mean we are continuing to support new clients, and taking on new referrals in Liverpool.

Being online gives us some significant opportunities to do more, rather than less, with the limited resources we have. We are currently working at pace on a crisis support offer for frontline professionals, and also at the possibility of training up additional therapists to deliver our model on a larger scale during this crisis.

Our current service

Our service has now moved completely online (as of 23 March 2020). This means that referrals, welcome assessments and therapy sessions are all being carried out via video conference and telephone, and all our therapists are working from home.

We have created an online questionnaire, which we use for evaluation, and an email-able version of the key cards, so the intervention can be delivered and evaluated remotely.

We will look to evaluate the effectiveness of our online service in comparison to our usual face-to-face model.

Expanding our offer to frontline professionals

As we have a team of trained professionals who are expert in dealing with crisis, we are also considering ways to broaden the support we can offer during this emergency period.

The first thing we are working on is an adapted version of our usual model, to offer support to frontline NHS professionals, and beyond, who are working within a crisis situation and who would benefit from support from our expert team.

We are working on a package of three online sessions with one of our therapists, based around a shortened version of our usual model. This service would be offered to both men and women working in frontline roles dealing directly with those affected by Covid-19.

We are working closely with partner organisations to hone this offer and to identify the appropriate referral criteria, before going on to implement it.

Training more therapists

We are also considering offering an online training package for therapists who wish to learn and implement our model, facilitating a far greater reach than our existing service in Liverpool. This feels like a potentially valuable resource to the system as a whole, and we are currently exploring ways of resourcing this expanded offer.

I want to thank our team who have worked with great passion to ensure James’ Place is as useful as possible during this crisis. We will share more on how our plans will be delivered in the next weeks, and we welcome any suggestions or ideas from partners who think we might be able to help.

We wish everyone, including our clients, partners, supporters and friends, the very best for the coming week.

Ellen O’Donoghue

Executive Director