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Healthy Empathy Can Save Lives - Including Yours.

TEDx QUT talk by Leanne Butterworth - 15 October 2022.


  1. Australia is experiencing an empathy deficit, which is fueling an epidemic of loneliness and is a threat to the nation's health and well-being.

  2. The quality of our social connections, not just the number of friends we have, is the key to reducing loneliness. A foundation of strong relationships is built on healthy empathy.

  3. Empathy is a learned skill which can be divided into three types: emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, and compassionate empathy. It has the power to save lives and improve personal and professional relationships.

In this TEDx talk, Empathy Speaker and Educator, Leanne Butterworth addresses the current lack of empathy in Australia, which is contributing to an epidemic of loneliness. Leanne notes that loneliness can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and increases the chance of dying early by 26 percent. She argues that the quality of social connections, rather than the quantity, is the key to combating loneliness. Leanne emphasizes the importance of empathy, which is the foundation of strong relationships, but laments that Australia ranks low (45th out of 63) in terms of empathy in a recent survey. Leanne explains that empathy is a learned skill which can be viewed as having three types: emotional, cognitive, and compassionate. Leanne emphasizes the importance of practicing empathy in a healthy and inclusive way, by acknowledging one's own values and biases and listening with an open heart to truly understand another person's perspective – and responding appropriately to make them feel heard, valued and visible. Leanne shares her personal experience of how an act of empathy by her doctor saved her life when she was struggling with postnatal depression.


Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, TEDx Speaker, Empathy Educator, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.

Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.

Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.

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