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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Compassion, inclusivity and belonging - Supporting a more inclusive NHS

Solent NHS Trust Chaplain, Emma D'aeth
Solent NHS Trust Chaplain, Emma D'aeth

This Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Week 2021 (10-14 May), Solent NHS Trust Chaplain, Emma D'aeth, speaks about compassion, inclusivity and belonging and what supporting a more inclusive NHS means. 

What does the word ‘belong’ mean to you?

What does it feel like to be belong?

I was very taken by the words of Pat Wadors, the Chief HR Director of LinkedIn. She changed the diversity conversation to ‘belonging’. ‘Like most people’, she said, who don’t belong, ‘I accepted it and walked away’. She goes on to tell the story of how, as a child, she wanted to follow her brother into the Little League - a junior baseball team. But being a girl they said, she couldn’t join. However, her sisters argued on her behalf until the coach checked the rules and let her join.

But here is the sting in the tail, yes, she was included as the only girl in the team but she didn’t feel she belonged. They hid her baseball mitt and taunted her for being a girl, until she hit an amazing score and she was accepted by her teammates.

Since then, she has seen it as her mission to bring belonging into the diversity conversation, it is the missing part of the equation.

We each have a story to tell, to be psychologically safe to bring our whole selves to work, to express ourselves and our identity. Stories draw people into worlds other than our own - this leads to greater understanding, compassion, and kindness.

We all have those ‘belonging moments’ of acceptance and affirmation.

Let’s not hide them. When we listen and celebrate to both what is different and common to all of us, we become wiser and more inclusive.

Sometimes we do not have the language to talk about difficult issues, we can say we are having a bad day because we are feeling physically unwell, but can we say we are having a bad day because of discriminatory events in our workplace? Our own struggles have always had an impact on our personal journeys.

Sharing knowledge and stories which are poignant and moving, increase our sense of belonging.

Let there be compassion, inclusion and belonging, and it begins with me.   


Emma D'aeth, Trust Chaplain 

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