SAMARITANS have launched a dedicated and confidential listening service for NHS and social care workers in Wales.
Funded by Welsh Government, the independent line provides a space for anyone working in the NHS or in social care to process their experiences during a time when they’re working under increased pressure and adapting to difficult circumstances.
The bespoke listening service offers emotional support on the phone every day between 7.00am and 11.00pm and is accessible to everyone from the frontline to the back-office, supporting them when they need it most. A Welsh language line will be available for those seeking support in Welsh between 7pm and 11pm.
The confidential support line is for anyone who works in health or social care and might be feeling worried, stressed or overwhelmed, or just needs to talk things through after a busy shift or long day at work. All calls are answered by Samaritans volunteers, who are trained to listen without judgement. It’s focused on creating a safe space for them to share their feelings and talk about what they’re going through.
In April Samaritans launched an NHS and social care support line in England, with volunteers sharing insights into the importance of the service.
Samaritans volunteer Simon Hicks, 59, said:
“Our NHS line is a confidential listening service for any NHS worker that needs to talk things out. Isolation and loneliness are one of the key reasons that NHS workers call the support line. A lot of them are self-isolating to protect family members while they are working on the frontline, so at the end of a shift they are heading back to a hotel room and they just need someone to talk to as they don’t have the usual at-home support.
“A lot of the callers to the NHS line are quite chatty and genuinely just need someone to talk things through with after a shift. That’s what we’re there for, to be able to offer a listening ear at the end of a busy shift or someone to talk to on their day off when they are self-isolating. Often what can be a problem or struggle for one person isn’t even a consideration for another. Everyone is so different and that’s why our listening service is so important.”
Executive Director for Wales, Sarah Stone said:
“I am delighted that Samaritans is able to provide an independent and confidential listening service to all NHS and social care workers in Wales during these unprecedented times. Our trained volunteers are here for any member of staff working for NHS or social care services to talk about whatever is troubling them. Now more than ever, it’s important to reach out and talk. Samaritans understand that connecting with others is a fundamental human need.
“We also ask the public to continue looking out for those who are looking out for you, by checking in with NHS or social care workers who may be friends, family or neighbours. A friendly chat, message or listening ear could help at the end of a working day.”
Minister for Health and Social Services Vaughan Gething said:
“We fully recognise the personal and professional challenges and sacrifices faced by our dedicated health and social care workforce, but especially so during this time of intense change brought on by COVID-19.
“It is so important those working within our NHS and social care sectors have access to well-trusted support and advice whenever they need it. The Samaritans new, bespoke and confidential helpline for Wales will be tailored for the specific concerns of those working in health care settings and will help to ensure they can receive the help they need to look after their own health and well-being during these challenging times.”
Anyone who is worried about themselves or others can find some useful online resources and advice on the Samaritans website.
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