Getting support when you need it
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
Being involved in politics should be fun and rewarding. But it can be stressful and at times any of us may need to turn to others for help or support.
Often that support can best come from colleagues in your local party or a party body you are active in. But sometimes help is needed elsewhere, and this piece sets out the main places to turn.
For the most serious situations, all our members can access a 24x7 support helpline on 0800 028 0199. It is run by Health Assured, an independent health and wellbeing specialist. (When asked which organisation you are from, say the Liberal Democrats.)
Members can also download the My Healthy Advantage app from the Google Play store or the Apple App store to access a range of supporting materials. For people without smartphones, there is also a web-based version. For the registration code for the app and for web-based access details, please contact [email protected].
The Health Assured service is provided to support members, regardless of whether the issue is a party-related one or not.
Health Assured has a robust and thorough safeguarding procedure which covers in detail the steps to be taken in the event of risk being identified. All helpline staff receive training and regular updates on their safeguarding/risk policy and procedure. In all instances, Health Assured respects their client's right to confidentiality but also recognises the need and reserves the right to breach confidentiality in exceptional circumstances in line with the data protection legislation.
In addition to the counselling support provided by Health Assured, the party has partnered with Able Futures to provide resilience coaching. Resilience coaching helps people be better prepared to deal with setbacks.
This service gives members access to a mental health professional to talk to about whatever is playing on their mind. There's no charge to use the service for up to nine months. Able Futures can help members to build self-care and wellbeing routines, tackle issues, feel better and learn new ways to manage their mental health throughout the ups and downs of life.
Support from Able Futures is available over the phone and through email or video calls at a time to suit. It's a completely confidential service.
Any member who feels they could benefit from some support with their mental health and wellbeing should call Able Futures on 0800 321 3137 or sign-up online.
Council group and local government issues
If you are a councillor (including town, parish and community councillors) and there are significant problems in your local council group, or in dealing with the local council, ALDC can either provide advice or point you at the best local government colleagues to assist.
Issues in your local party
If you need support because of issues in your local party, advice and help can be provided by your regional party (in England) or by the Scottish or Welsh Liberal Democrats. You can get in touch [email protected] who can direct you to your relevant Region/State.
Support through the complaints process
If you have made a complaint through the party's complaints process, pastoral care can also be provided by the People Team. Additional support can also be provided if the case involves a hearing about very serious or sensitive matters, such as allegations of bullying or harassment.
If you are the respondent to a complaint, a process mentor can be provided to help you understand how the complaints process works.
To access this support, contact the Standards Officer on [email protected].
Additional support is available to Federal Party staff. Please contact your line manager or the HR team to find out more.
Arrangements vary for other staff in the party, but if in doubt you can contact the Federal Party HR team on [email protected] for help in finding out what support is available.