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Mind Jersey is preparing itself for an increased demand on its services by recruiting volunteers who will provide emotional support to those whose mental health is being affected by Covid-19. 22 new Mental Health Community Champions have been trained to work alongside Mind employees on the charity’s free helpline, offering a non-judgemental ear to listen and point callers in the right direction.
The mental health charity called upon the 500+ individuals that have completed their Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training with Mind for volunteers to assist with the helpline. Following additional training, the 22 volunteers, who have now been branded Mental Health Community Champions, will work on a shift basis to ensure that the phone line is attended from 8am to 8pm.
Mind Office Manager Hugo Forrester, said: “We were overwhelmed at the response we had for volunteers who stepped forward from a wide cross section of the community. We are following recommendations from the UK, who are a few weeks ahead of us on the curve, to expect a large rise in mental health problems and we want to be fully prepared.
“Initially we had reached out to see if we could support these MHFAs in anyway, and subsequently we then asked if they would be willing to put their valuable skills to good use. Community Champions is such a fitting title for these people, who will make an enormous difference, just be being there to listen.
A Mental Health Community Champion said: “I hope that the addition of extra mental health support into Jersey’s system at a low level will increase capacity for mental health professionals ‘higher up the chain’ to deal with more acute cases. Whilst we will largely be sign posting to those agencies I am also hopeful that we can be a listening ear at the right time and help alleviate some concerns and anxieties just by being there.”
One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life, with these numbers set to rise in the aftermath of Covid-19. If you are experiencing difficulties and would like to talk to someone please call the free Mind Jersey helpline on 0800 7359404. If you would like to make a donation to help support the charity please visit their website www.mindjersey.org when you can contribute online.