NHS Spirit in Mind conference – compassion: a unifying vision in an age of division


On Thursday 7 February 2019, Spirit in Mind held its second annual conference at Dewsbury Minster. The event focusing on the theme of ‘compassion’ brought together local faith leaders, organisations and projects to openly talk about compassion, how they approach it and what value it offers.

Revd. Mike Gartland, Spirit in Mind project lead said: “Compassion is something everyone can sign up to, whatever faith, background or ethnicity. It is the golden key to bring everyone together and builds strong community spirit.”

With over 80 people in attendance, the all-day event which ran from 9am – 4pm, featured a welcome from Angela Monaghan, Chair of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and presentations about compassion projects from guests, organisations and partners. The conference also hosted workshops in the afternoon which included sessions on the practice of compassion, compassionate communication, raising mental health awareness in a faith community and more.

Revd. Dr Martin Naylor who presented at the event about PeerTalk support groups in Batley stated: “It was a really good Spirit in Mind event and great to hear inspiring speakers being passionate about mental health support and how compassion is at the heart of what we do. Compassion is a unifying vision, and there is power in truly being with someone, relating and empathising. Together we are showing we can make a real difference in the communities we live in”.

The event was well received by attendees with enthusiastic approaches to discussions. With inspirational stories about personal experiences, projects and activities shared amongst the group, the conference fuelled engagement and communication about compassion.

Irfan Mohmed, youth worker at Kumon Y’all in Dewsbury, delivered a presentation titled ‘Kids nowadays’, discussing the mental health needs for young people. He commented: “It was a privilege to speak at the Spirit in Mind conference organised by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. A compassionate, holistic and understanding approach to wellbeing is needed in this day and age, to care for our youth and people of all ages. At Kumon Y’all we value the need to recognise emerging challenges impacting young people’s physical and mental wellbeing and develop strategies to protect their wellbeing. Talking, discussing and incorporating compassion in the minds of young people, are the ingredients to a better future for generations to come.”

Building on from the successful conference and the positive response, Spirit in Mind will continue the conversation on compassion with the introduction of The Compassion Hub. To be held at Dewsbury Minster on Friday 29 March, the group aims to bring together people seeking to explore the field of compassion and its development across a range of disciplines, including healthcare, business and education.

To register your interest or find out more, contact Debby Walker on 01924 316282 or email debby.walker@swyt.nhs.uk.

NHS Spirit in Mind conference – compassion: a unifying vision in an age of division

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