Meet Our In-House Support Team This Time To Talk Day

Today we’re marking Time To Talk Day, which is intended to increase the opportunity for chats about mental health; in the hope that the more we talk about it, the less stigma and discrimination there will be around the topic. To support this, we caught up with a few members of St Oswald’s Hospice In-house Support Team to find out how they’re supporting staff and volunteers to have these chats on a regular basis…

Here at St Oswald’s Hospice we’re committed to promoting positive health and mental wellbeing for all of our staff and volunteers. If staff or volunteers at the Hospice have a personal or work related problem, and they feel it would help to talk things through with someone in strict confidence, then they can contact our In-House Confidential Support Service. The team is made of Amanda Wait (Social Worker), Davina Radford (Spiritual Care Lead), Brenda Clayton (Bereavement Support Coordinator), Carole Taylor (Coordinator of Therapeutic Activities), Marisa Woodward (Social Worker) and Susan Freeman (Retail Operations Manager).

Davina tells us more “The team is made up of staff who people may naturally come to for support due to our roles, knowledge and experience. We can’t offer advice or counselling but we can offer staff and volunteers a confidential, non-judgemental safe place to chat. It’s a listening ear and we might be able to signpost them to other useful agencies and support networks/services.”

Before the pandemic the team often operated on a very ad-hoc basis and offered support informally, but since Covid-19, home working and social distancing Carole said “Gone are the days of the corridor conversations! Recently there’s a lot of people working from home so we’re not seeing faces to just have a little chat in Reception.”

To try to get over the loss of these corridor conversations, the team are encouraging staff and volunteers to drop them an email or pick up the phone and they can arrange a face to face catch up or even something over Teams.

Marisa added: “As well as emotional support practical support can be provided by myself and Amanda which often includes direct help with Welfare Benefits or signposting to other Agencies or teams as required.”

Amanda said: “Having previous experience working within Community Social Care Teams both myself and Marisa are able to offer advice and information about how to access support and services within the community. This can be useful for staff or volunteers who are in a caring role with family or friends.”

Davina added “For nearly everybody that I speak to, they want to chat about their home life – work might come into it – but a lot of it is about personal issues. Sometimes people just want a rant!”

Deborah Heron, Director of People said: “Being able to offer our staff and volunteers a listening ear is more important than ever, especially after the last couple of years. Time to Talk Day is a great way of raising awareness around our In-house Support Team but also a reminder that asking for help or support, isn’t a weakness, it’s a great sign of strength and bravery.”

For more information on Time to Talk Day, please visit their website here

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