Help

Compass is not an emergency service. Healthcare professionals usually work weekdays, 9am-5pm, but will not be routinely checking your progress in between sessions.

If you need to urgently contact your healthcare team, we recommend you ring the healthcare service that referred you to Compass.

If you are feeling very distressed try to talk to someone now:

  • Is there a family member, friend or neighbour who you could talk to who might be able to help?

  • You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day for support.

  • Telephone number: 116123. Website: www.samaritans.org

If you feel unsafe and need help immediately:

  • go to your local A&E where the healthcare team can help you.

If you or anyone else is in immediate danger:

  • please call the Police or Ambulance Service on 999.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find the answer you’re looking for, please use the Contact Us form to send your question or query to the Compass team.

Questions about the Compass programme

What is Compass, and what is it for?

Compass is website where you can receive online support for managing your long term condition(s) (LTC(s)) and emotional wellbeing. The sessions offered are specifically tailored to help people with their LTCs. They use skills from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

What is CBT?

CBT is a form of psychological and behavioural treatment that has been shown to help people manage a whole range of health problems, including physical health conditions, depression and anxiety.

Why have I been chosen to use this programme?

Your doctor or another healthcare professional has recommended this programme to you as you may be finding your LTC is having a negative impact on your day-to-day life and wellbeing. Evidence suggests that having a LTC increases your chance of experiencing feelings of low mood and/or worry about your health. Evidence also shows that having low mood and/or anxiety alongside a LTC can affect your illness and health outcomes.

Who designed Compass?

Compass was designed and written by Professor Rona Moss-Morris, Dr Katrin Hulme, Dr Joanna Hudson and Dr Katharine Rimes of the Health Psychology Research Group at King's College London (KCL). The project was funded by KCL and King's Health Partners' Mind & Body Programme.

The Mind & Body Programme works to join up mental and physical healthcare, training and research. The aim is to improve health outcomes for patients and service users across King's College London and three NHS Trusts: Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. You can find out more about the Mind & Body Programme here.

How long does the Compass programme take?

We recommend that you do approximately one session per week. In total, this means the programme will take you around 12 weeks, although you are welcome to work through it at a pace to suit you and your lifestyle - some people may do it slightly faster, others may take slightly longer.

Who is supporting me throughout this process?

Every person who uses Compass is assigned a guide. Your guide is a trained and qualified healthcare professional who will provide you with support during the programme. You will have regular contact with them, either by phone or online message. You can message them at any time, although they are unlikely to respond immediately. Typically they will check your progress weekly and make an appointment to talk to you every two to three weeks. This may differ though, depending on the healthcare service.

What happens if I don't like Compass and want to try something different?

That's ok. If you do not want to continue with Compass, please speak to your guide. They can discuss this with you and help you decide on next steps.

Taking part in the programme is voluntary and completely up to you. Other options may be offered by your healthcare service, and again your guide can talk these through with you.

Questions about the online sessions

What are the various sections of Compass for?

The Compass programme starts with an introduction session. This is called "Navigating Compass". Everyone completes this session first. The rest of Compass is split into 10 sessions. Sessions are organised in four groups: North, South, East and West. Each of the four groups has a different focus, for example, South is around social Support, and West focuses on Well-being.

By grouping the sessions we hope it makes it easier for you to keep track of your progress and understand the topics Compass covers.

As well as the sessions, there are also other sections, e.g. My Journal. These are extra tools which allow you to get the most out of the programme.

How many sessions are there, and how long do they take?

In total, there are 11 sessions. Everyone does the introductory session. You may then decide to do all of the 10 other sessions or only the ones most relevant to you. The Compass programme and your guide will help you choose.    

Each session will take roughly 45 minutes to complete. Some may take a little longer, others may be a bit shorter. Again, you can complete each session at a pace to suit you.

What happens if I get tired or need a break during the online sessions?

There is a 'take a break' button which allows you to pause a session. Compass also saves your progress every time you click Next in a session, so you can log out and return to where you left off when you log back in again.

Do I have to do the sessions in a particular order?

No. In the introduction session, Navigating Compass, you are asked questions which helps the programme suggest the best journey through the four areas of the Compass for you.

You can follow this if you wish but it is not essential. If there is a session you feel would be more useful to do earlier or later than the order suggests, then you can do so. Your guide can help you decide what you would like to work through.

Can I do a session more than once?

Yes. Click on 'My Progress' and select the session that you would like to do again.

Compass will have saved any information you entered or typed into that session previously for you to see. You can choose to type/click different responses as you work through it again if you would like to. Please note, your new information will be saved over your previous answers.

What happens after I finish Compass?

Once you have completed all the sessions, you can click 'Finish Compass' under 'My Progress' to let your guide know. Or, your guide will see when you have done all of the sessions and will contact you to have a final appointment before you are discharged. After you have been discharged, you will no longer be able to contact your guide on Compass. You will still be able to access the website for another year.

You might not want to do all of the sessions on Compass. If this is the case, you can click on 'Finish Compass' at any time under 'My Progress' to let your guide know.

Will my medical team see my progress?

Only your Compass guide will see your progress on the programme on a regular basis. To keep clinical standards high and to maintain the quality of your care, a clinical supervisor may have access to your interactions with the Compass programme and/or your guide. Again, their account is secured and they treat your information confidentially.

Your medical team may be aware that you are using Compass but cannot see what you write or which sessions you do. We recommend you discuss the programme with them at some point. There are sessions around making use of support, particularly from healthcare professionals.

What happens if I haven't completed an online session before my appointment with my guide?

If you have not been able to do or finish a session before an appointment with your guide, please do not worry. They can help you if you feel stuck and will still be happy to talk to you and discuss how you are getting on.

Questions about my guide

How long will it take for my guide to respond?

You can message your guide at any time, although they may not always be able to respond straight away. You will have an appointment with your guide approximately once every two weeks, although this may differ depending on your NHS service. At this point, you will definitely receive a response. Your guide may also be able to reply sooner, however, they will not be checking Compass every day.

How do I change an appointment with my guide?

If you are unable to make the appointment organised with your guide, please message them via the online message system as soon as possible to let them know. They can then work with you to find a good time and day to reschedule the appointment to.

How do I know when my guide is on leave or away?

If your guide is going to be away, they will let you know in advance, either by discussing it on the phone or sending you an online message. They will let you know when they will be back, as well as give you details about what to do if you need support while they are away.

Can I pull out of Compass and my sessions with the guide?

You are free to leave the Compass programme at any time. However, we strongly recommend you discuss this with your guide so that you can work out what alternatives there are for further support.

Who can I contact if I need to speak to someone urgently?

Compass is not an emergency service. Healthcare professionals usually work weekdays, 9am-5pm, but will not be routinely checking your progress in between sessions.

If you need to urgently contact your healthcare team, we recommend you ring the healthcare service that referred you to Compass.

If you are feeling very distressed try to talk to someone now:

  • Is there a family member, friend or neighbour who you could talk to who might be able to help?

  • You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day for support.

  • Telephone number: 116123. Website: www.samaritans.org

If you feel unsafe and need help immediately:

  • go to your local A&E where the healthcare team can help you.

If you or anyone else is in immediate danger:

  • please call the Police or Ambulance Service on 999.

Technical Issues

What happens if I forget my password?

If you forget your password, you can click on the 'Forgot your password?' link under the 'Login' button. You will be asked for the email address you gave when you registered with Compass. Details of how to reset your password will be sent to this email account.

I am having trouble logging in.

Check that you have correctly typed the email address you used when you registered with Compass. Also, check whether CAPS LOCK is on whilst typing your password.

If you have forgotten your password or would like to reset it, click on 'Forgot your password' by the login button. You will be asked for your email address and then sent a link to reset your password.

If you are still having difficulties, you can send us a message under 'Contact Us'.

What happens if I disconnect from Compass partway through a session?

You are able to continue a session from where you left off. Clicking Next on a page saves the content from that page so you can choose to go back to that bit when you click on the session. You may lose a small amount of information if you were partway through filling in a text box or task and had not clicked Next yet. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.

What happens if my device breaks down?

Because Compass is a website it is not dependent on the device you use to access it. This means that if your device (e.g. laptop) breaks, you can still access your Compass account using the website address on a different device, such as another computer, smartphone or tablet.

Will using a different device or browser affect how Compass works?

Compass has been designed to work across a wide variety of different devices, e.g. laptops/desktops, tablets, iPads and smartphones. The content is exactly the same on all devices but will appear small on phones and small tablets.

You may find it easier to do tasks and type longer text on a laptop or desktop computer as you will be able to see more of a page on the screen.

Compass has also been designed to work across a variety of internet browsers, including Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox. The browser does not affect how the website works.

In order for the website to work as well as possible and display everything as it should be, we recommend you use the most recent versions of device operating systems and internet browsers. If you are experiencing technical difficulties, try updating your device or browser.

Do I need to open different tabs on my browser?

You do not need to have multiple tabs open to use the website - one is enough. The link in the email will take you to the login page. From here you can access your account by logging in using your email and password.

At points in the programme you will be able to click on links to websites, videos and printable documents - these will open in a new tab. Once you have read, viewed or printed what you would like to, this extra tab can be closed.

I am not receiving emails/SMS messages from Compass.

Compass sends you messages to remind you of appointments, to log in, if you receive a message from your guide and when questionnaires are due to be completed. If you are not receiving messages from Compass as expected please check:

  • that you have selected the form of message you would like to receive from 'Settings' next to the Logout button.

  • that emails are not in your Junk email folder.

  • that you provided the correct email address and/or mobile phone number when you registered with the programme. You can do this by messaging your guide.

If you are still experiencing problems, please complete the Contact Us form and someone will be in touch with you shortly.

Questions about data and privacy

How do I make sure my connection is secure?

We recommend you use Compass on trusted WiFi networks, for example, your home broadband. Using a secure connection such as this means that the connection is encrypted by one or more security protocols - this means that it cannot be accessed by external third parties.

We recommend you do not use public or unsecured networks.

We also recommend you log out after you have finished what you are currently doing on Compass.

Is Compass private and secure?

Using your login details mean that only you can access your account. Your guide is able to see some of the information you type; your goals, tasks and reflections. Again their account is password secured.

All information uploaded to the site is encrypted and securely stored in the database. Certain information may be shared with researchers but this will be at a group level and anonymised. This means you will not be individually identifiable.

You can find out more by clicking on 'Data security & Privacy'.

Who can see my data?

Your data can only be seen by you and your guide. On occasion, a clinical supervisor may have access to your interactions with the Compass programme and/or your guide. This is to make sure clinical standards are high. Again, their account is secured and they treat your information confidentially.

Where is my data stored?

SPIKA, the technical agency who developed and host the Compass website, securely store the data on their servers in an encrypted format. These servers are located in the UK, and data storage and management occurs in line with NHS recommendations and data protection rules.

You can find out more by clicking on 'Data security & Privacy'.

Does Compass use cookies?

The Compass website does not use marketing cookies. This means that your browsing information is not used for advertising or commercial purposes. The Compass website does use one type of cookie - this is an essential cookie which is used to make sure you get a consistent user experience. It is required for the website to maintain where you are up to in the programme. It also means it can show you personalised information when you are signed in.

Other

Is using a computer a lot bad for me?

Excessive computer use at night, particularly when looking at a bright screen in a dark room, is not recommended. Instead, we recommend you do the programme at some point during the day or evening, and not too close to bedtime.

When using Compass we recommend you take regular breaks and do not sit in front of the screen for multiple hours at a time. Making sure you sit with good posture and getting up occasionally is also good.

What happens if my condition deteriorates?

If you notice your health condition worsening, you should contact your medical team. As well as taking any relevant steps with your medical team, we recommend you discuss this with your guide, so they are aware of what you are experiencing and can support you.

What if I disclose something that puts me or others at risk?

If your guide is concerned about your or another person's safety, they will discuss this with you. However, they also have a professional obligation to let other healthcare professionals know, depending on the situation.