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Empathy hotline for medical personnel – Covid- 19

“If you are there for others, you need people who are there for you.”- Worldwide Empathy for Medics (WEM)

Our answer to the COVID -19 crisis is to show that it is possible to be there for one another, in a community-led way and in a way and that we have never done before.

When we go to a health centre, hospital or pharmacy, we know that the NHS will take care of us. Now we would like to welcome you in the same way. One of our goals is to bring people closer together with empathy.

How did the idea for a global empathy hotline for medical personnel come about?

Two weeks after the initial restrictions in Europe began Dr. Luc Peetermans, called Corrylaura van Bladel to start a telephone support line:“I am concerned because I believe that our Belgian government believes that there are sufficient resources to deal with this to support all of the overworked people in healthcare, but that’s not the case at all! ”.

Corrylaura van Bladel is the founder of one of the world’s largest training centers for Nonviolent Communication,  situated in the Flemish part of Belgium (BlaBla – House for Connection). Dr Peetermans and his colleagues were familiar with NVC and especially with the power of empathic listening. He, therefore, wanted this support hotline to be offered by people who were trained in this way with empathic listening.

Corrylaura recalls: “I didn’t hesitate and I thought it was a global problem and we already have a large international network, so let’s do it together!”

In addition to her BlaBla team, she asked an international team that had already jointly co-created several large NVC projects and set them up on a budget (e.g. the Life Enriching Education Lab Europe (LEELAB)).

Certified Trainer Shona Cameron sourced a team of UK Volunteers

After 3 weeks the initiative went online in five languages under the name WEM – Worldwide Empathy for Medics. Now, at the beginning of May 2020, WEM  is constantly being expanded with the aim of offering 24/7 support for doctors, nursing staff, cleaning staff, paramedics and everyone who works in medical care in clinics, nursing homes, retirement homes, hospices, medical centers etc. and we are working on a sixth language – Spanish.

This is the global team

How many people are involved

178 volunteer listeners from 4 continents are currently answering calls in 19 languages. They are all Certified NVC trainers or personally recommended to us by Certified Trainers. The core team of 12 takes care of legal questions, the structure of the website, the translation of the information into as many languages ​​as possible, the organizational and emotional support of the listeners and – last but not least – that the information about the service becomes widely known.

It was possible to initiate a large offer so quickly thanks to international networks already in place (CNVC, D-A-CH- a German Speaking NVC Network) AND the willingness of countless people to make their contribution in terms of time, skills and energy.

Here in the UK you can help by:

  • Spreading the information within your channels (newsletter, social media …). Do you have contacts to the press? You can find press documents and the poster for printing at kit)
  • Tell friends who work in the healthcare sector about WEM and encourage them to use and call WEM.
  • Support the project financially via the Paypal button on the website – every contribution helps!
  • Contact potential sponsors
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