Urgent appeal for specialist befrienders in Torbay

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2021)

Organisers of the Torbay Community Helpline have put out an urgent appeal for specialist befrienders as numbers of callers with mental health issues continues to rise.

The Helpline provides a mental health triage service for people suffering through the crisis but needs more people with counselling skills to volunteer to come forward.

A spokesperson for the Helpline said: “We are seeing more and more people who are suffering as a result of this latest lockdown and we need to be able to help them.

“Many of us, during this pandemic and particularly during periods of lockdown, have experienced an increase in feelings of sadness, anxiety, fear and loneliness and people have been more tearful and lost motivation to maintain daily routines or self-care.”

So far nearly 600 people have contacted the Helpline saying that their mental health is suffering and various agencies have been contacted including the Devon Clinic, MIND and StepOne.

But the calls are continuing and whilst some just need to hear a friendly voice through the befriending service, others are struggling with more complex issues.

“The helpline has matched people who are looking for regular calls with “specialist Befrienders,” added one of the specialists working in the triage service.

“Our specialist befriends have provided a vital connection to people who need some extra support and have helped to reduce the deep feelings of loneliness and isolation, which is so harmful to our emotional health.

“We are looking for volunteers who have time to offer a supportive, understanding and listening ear. Some experience of supporting others who have experienced challenges to their emotional health and wellbeing would be great.”

If you feel you can help and have the required skills, please contact the Helpline on 01803 446022.

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