Samaritans, working with The Lord Mayor’s Appeal, has launched a ground breaking emotional support programme for City workers. The Wellbeing in the City initiative, which is part of an existing mental health campaign in the Square Mile called This is Me, will focus on listening skills and signs that someone may be struggling. The aim is to help create a happier, healthier City.
Every year, around 600 people die by suicide across London and three out of every five employees have experienced mental health issues due to work, or where work was a contributing factor. Samaritans and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal are helping to tackle this by bringing expertise in emotional wellbeing to the City workforce, giving employees the skills and confidence to help themselves and others, creating a network of support.
Two interactive online programmes have been created specifically for office workers: Samaritans Active Listening Skills and Samaritans Wellbeing Toolkit. One takes around 60 minutes to complete, the other approximately 30 and both can be accessed in short sections of around 10 minutes or less. The development of the programmes has been part-funded by PwC. The ongoing partnership with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and its fundraising plans across the City over the next three years will enable access for all.
Ruth Sutherland, CEO of Samaritans said “We know that listening saves lives. Our aim is to help people who are struggling, before they reach crisis point. Giving the workforce wellbeing and listening skills creates a network of support, so no one feels they have to cope with difficult thoughts or feelings alone. We want organisations and individuals to sign up now. Even a small commitment can make a huge difference to yourself and those around you.”
The Rt Hon The Lord Mayor, Alderman Charles Bowman said “With workplace stress and anxiety a serious issue, we’re taking practical steps to build a more supportive City through our employees. This will benefit businesses, families and communities, as well as having a real impact on those who need help. It will not only change lives, it has the potential to save lives too.”
In the run up to today’s launch, the resources have been trialled by employees at PwC. Ben Higgin, a PwC partner who ran the pilot programme, said: “Talking about mental wellbeing isn’t always easy. We often care, but worry too much about what’s the right or wrong thing to say. This Samaritans programme is a great tool and provides specific examples of how to handle these conversations, giving you the confidence to approach someone you think might need help or to seek that help yourself. A quick and easy way for businesses to support their people, it breaks down the stigma of mental wellbeing and makes it easier for people to show that they care and to be themselves at work. We’ll be rolling it out widely at PwC, where our people are looking forward to using it.”
The Wellbeing in the City partnership between Samaritans and The Lord Mayor’s Appeal also aims to attract more Samaritans volunteers. The charity will be piloting a new model of volunteering later this year that will help training fit more easily around City life.
The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is partnering with Samaritans, Place2Be, a leading UK children’s mental health charity and OnSide Youth Zones, which will provide state of the art youth provision for young people across London. As a result, The Lord Mayor’s Appeal will be supporting people of all ages across the capital over the next three years, fitting with its strategy to create A Better City for All.