Dublin Samaritans launch mental health workshop

Dublin Samaritans launch mental health workshop

By Maurice Garvey

DUBLIN Samaritans has launched a corporate mental-health workshop, which aims to help companies build emotional-support toolkits and support colleagues who may not be coping.

Learn 2 Listen (L2L) is a half-day programme developed by trained Dublin Samaritan volunteers.

L2L Dublin Bus 1

L2L Dublin Bus – Former Irish rally driver Rosemary Smith, Louisa Murray, volunteer with Dublin Samaritans, and Head of HR and Development, Phil Donohue of Dublin Bus and (inset) Nicholas Nally, Dublin Samaritans

Dublin Bus, which piloted the L2L project and An Post are among the first to sign up for wellbeing workshops which are taking place in June.

 The interactive workshop offers key employees skills and tools needed to recognise early warning signs of stress, increase awareness of mental health issues in the workplace and practise the skill of ‘active listening.’

It can also help companies achieve an IBEC KeepWell Mark.

Lucan man Nicholas Nally, Volunteer Outreach Director with Dublin Samaritans, said the content of the workshop is based on Samaritan’s “extensive body of knowledge and experience in active listening skills gained over the 50 years of the Dublin branch.”

“The online workshop experience is designed to replicate an inhouse workshop as much as possible and is led by experienced Samaritan volunteers,” said Mr Nally.

“The workshops to date have been very well received by attendees. Feedback we have received strongly indicates that the experience has helped them to better understand how to provide emotional support in their work context and has given them the confidence to apply these new techniques in their day-to-day working environments.”

Feedback from Dublin Bus employees who attended the pilot workshop was positive and the company continued to run the programme.

Vivienne Kavanagh, Employee Development and Equality Executive at Dublin Bus said: “There is no doubt that Dublin Samaritans are the experts when it comes to offering that all-important listening ear. The workshops they deliver are authentic and have provided a toolkit for our managers which is beneficial and practical. We know that the volunteers delivering the course are also working on the ground. They’ve heard every problem imaginable in their 50 years in Ireland.”

There are significant costs associated with offering a Dublin Samaritan free phone line to the public.

The organisation hopes L2L will help to ensure the future of the 24/7 service by offering the half-day course to corporate clients for a nominal fee.

Volunteers who deliver the course do so on a voluntary (unpaid) basis and all proceeds from the workshops go towards running costs of the free phone service throughout Ireland.

L2L is offered online while restrictions are in place. Once it is safe to do so, Dublin Samaritans will deliver the training inhouse.