Wellbeing in the city - image of woman at laptop working

The civil service joins Samaritans’ wellbeing at work programme

Prison officers, weapons engineers, job centre coaches and marine biologists are just some of the professions who’ll be encouraged to take care of their wellbeing, and learn to support colleagues more effectively, as Samaritans launches its Wellbeing in the City programme to 420,000 Civil Service employees.

The announcement comes on World Mental Health Day (10 October) which this year is focusing on “young people and mental health in a changing world”.

Wellbeing in the City is a ground-breaking programme of emotional support and listening skills, developed in partnership with the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, which has already been adopted by thousands of employees in the capital and across the UK.

Samaritans CEO, Ruth Sutherland, said: “Our civil servants carry out some of the most important roles in our society, often working under pressure to deliver services that we all take for granted, that keep our country running. We are delighted that the Civil Service has recognised the value of our unique learning tools. This programme is changing work cultures and lives. It ensures that everyone is more aware of who could be having a tough time, and how to support them. Anyone can feel overwhelmed and, with the right knowledge and skills, anyone can also offer support.”

The Civil Service will launch an internal communications campaign on World Mental Health Day to encourage staff to complete the training, which includes a Samaritans event at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Jonathan Jones, Civil Service Health and Wellbeing Champion, said: ''The Civil Service is committed to being a leading employer on mental health and becoming the most inclusive employer by 2020. It is vital that civil servants are able to hold open conversations around mental health, ending the stigma associated with it. I am grateful to Samaritans for developing the Wellbeing in the City tools, which will bolster the support already available to our employees."

After completing the training, more than 90 per cent of participants said they felt more able to recognise emotional distress in others, that they understood the importance of looking after their own wellbeing, and that they felt more confident about approaching someone who was struggling, also feeling they could apply the skills they learnt in everyday life.*

Richard Martin from Byrne Dean, who used to be a City lawyer, said: “We don’t spend enough time really reflecting on how we are. I spent a lot of time feeling stressed, feeling anxious. I worked at a fast rate. I worked long hours. I didn’t spend time doing things that I enjoyed. Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is create cultures and workplaces where it’s ok to talk about this stuff.”


To find out more about Wellbeing in the City or use Samaritans’ free online programme, visit www.samaritans.org/wellbeinginthecity.

For more information and interviews, please contact Samaritans’ Press Office on 020 8396 8300 or e.swain@samaritans.org.


Notes to editors

  • *Samaritans survey of people who have completed Wellbeing in the City, June 2018
  • Anyone can contact Samaritans any time for free from any phone on 116 123. This number is free to call and will not show up on your phone bill. Or email jo@samaritans.org or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your local branch where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.
  • Samaritans responds to more than five million requests for help every year.
  • Samaritans is a charity and it’s the public’s kind donations and more than 20,000 trained volunteers that mean we are always there for anyone struggling to cope. Find out about volunteering and other ways to donate or support us at www.samaritans.org
  • The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is bringing together businesses, employees, neighbouring communities and charities to find solutions to some of London’s most pressing societal issues. Find out more here: https://www.thelordmayorsappeal.org/
  • Find out more about World Mental Health Day here: https://wfmh.global/world-mental-health-day-2018/