A Psychosocial response to Covid-19


The Covid-19 pandemic is placing stress on all of us but especially on health care workers and people directly affected by the virus. The protracted and uncertain nature of the pandemic increases anxiety and distress among people and across society.

CES is supporting the Health Service Executive (HSE) in their response to the current Covid-19 crisis in Ireland. The HSE is co-ordinating a comprehensive psychosocial response programme to address the overall emergency and its impact into the future. Psychosocial refers to the full spectrum of psychological, emotional, social, relationship, behavioural, cognitive and physical experiences. These can occur within individuals and between groups of individuals, e.g. families, communities, and work groups in different settings.

The programme aims to bring together the different strands of existing services, to ensure that there is a fully integrated, strategic psychosocial response to Covid-19 for both the immediate and long term. Specifically, the team will be focusing on the psychosocial responses needed for:

  • The Public – members of the public may experience psychological distress due to the crisis and the individual and societal challenges it presents.
  • Health Sector Staff– the mental health and psychological well-being of health and social care staff across the HSE and related service providers. Staff may experience significant distress as they deal with the challenges presented by Covid-19.

CES supported the HSE to set up and structure the programme, work streams and governance framework. Since it was set up, the Programme has developed guidance for HSE Area Crisis Management teams across the country as they respond to the high incidence of mortality within health care, hospitals and long-term stay settings such as nursing homes. The Programme is developing a National Psychosocial Framework to inform medium to long term services and supports. The use of online and telehealth resources is an integral part of the response.

For more information about HSE services and supports, visit