Following a comprehensive consultation across a wide and diverse range of employers, the Samaritans Cymru designed the Working with Compassion toolkit to help people in Wales improve all interactions and outcomes in the workplace by developing their levels of compassion.
It’s been put together to provide staff with facts and information, alongside real tips and actions which can be used in their daily working lives. This toolkit can assist staff when talking to or helping someone who is experiencing poor mental health or emotional distress.
“In order to encourage compassion in the workplace, we have consulted with representatives from a diverse range of organisations, many of them frontline staff, from the police service to third sector organisations to job centres. Acting with compassion has many benefits. This toolkit isn’t just for the workplace; it has been designed to encourage you to act more compassionately in your own life, towards yourself and those around you.
The Working with Compassion toolkit centres around just that – compassion – and explains how it’s a skill that can be learned by everyone. Acting compassionately does not require any specific resource, time or money, it just relies on us being able to relate to someone else’s emotional state and, crucially, wanting to support them. The most important thing to remember is that none of us needs to be an expert to help someone experiencing distress. The most valuable thing is that they don’t feel alone and that they know someone cares.
Many sectors, services and workplaces in Wales will interact with people who are experiencing emotional distress and it is important that we treat them with compassion. We need to recognise that they are not separate to us because we all encounter distress, and 1 in 4 of us have poor mental health. We must remove the stigma surrounding emotional distress and encourage a culture where people are confident to ask for help and give help to others when they need it.”
Benefits for the workplace
- Learning to act with compassion can improve health, boost wellbeing and strengthen relationships.
- The toolkit includes practical advice and tips for staff on the following:
how to deal with difficult conversations
emotional distress – spotting the signs
myth-busting – knowing the facts, how to become a better listener
mental health crisis – what is it and what can I do?
- Learning these skills and areas of knowledge can improve outcomes for staff, customers, clients or service users.
- The toolkit includes a comprehensive list of useful organisations and helplines which can be helpful if staff need to signpost a customer, clients or service user to some help.
- Most importantly, compassion can change and save lives.