Mental Health Awareness Week 2023: Supporting interpreters working with vulnerable people

This week (15-21 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 and this year’s focus is on anxiety.

As a leading language services provider to the charity and public sector, protecting and supporting the mental health of our interpreters is a key priority for The Language Shop (tls).

We recognise that it is often those working to support vulnerable people to minimise the impact on their mental health, whose own mental health is overlooked. Our interpreters cover a whole range of assignments including within NHS settings such as hospitals and GP surgeries, for Local Authority Child Protection Services, within prison environments and for charities, where those they support may be facing homelessness and distress and are often at their most vulnerable.

It is not surprising that, while incredibly rewarding, the role can also be very stressful and it is vital that interpreters are able to effectively manage anxiety so that they can deliver the best service while protecting their own wellbeing.

There are a number of ways in which we support our interpreters to cope with these challenging situations.

Free access to a quarterly Interpreter Forum

We are acutely aware that interpreting assignments mostly involve working independently and this can have an impact on interpreters’ mental health, leading to feelings of anxiety and isolation. This is exactly why we set up the TLS Interpreter Forum.

A new quarterly online event exclusively for TLS interpreters, the forum facilitates peer-to-peer communication, the opportunity to provide feedback, discuss key topics and meet other interpreters working with TLS.

The date for our next interpreter forum will be announced soon.

TLS Assistance Programme

Our Assistance Programme provides support and advice on mental health, money, wellness, and employment issues; all areas that can create anxiety for our interpreters.

This includes our 24/7 counselling line which can be accessed as many times as required by all interpreters working for TLS, giving them peace of mind that there will always be someone available to help them through mental health issues they might experience.

Ongoing training and CPD

As part of our ongoing commitment to the continuous professional development of our interpreters, with many training events taking place throughout the year, our training often includes protecting the mental health and wellbeing of our interpreters.

A recent example was a personal safety training session for our British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters who work at Springfield Hospital. Find out more on what was covered in the training HERE.

To find out more about working as an interpreter for tls, get in touch HERE.