Urgent appeal for specialist befrienders

Mature Woman Discussing Problems With Counselor

The helpline needs more people with counselling skills to volunteer to come forward - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

An urgent appeal has been made for specialist befrienders to work on the Torbay Community Helpline 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. 

Torbay Community Helpline logo displaying the phone number and some telephones

Torbay Community Helpline - Credit: Submitted

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 almost 600 people have contacted the helpline saying their mental health is suffering and various agencies have been contacted including the Devon Clinic, MIND and StepOne.

But the calls are continuing and while 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.

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“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.“

Anyone who can help and has the required skills, should contact the helpline on 01803 446022.