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SA Lifestyle Community

ChaiFM Helpline offers help in ‘overwhelming time’

  • ChaiFMHelplineIlan
ChaiFM has launched a helpline for people in need of emotional support.
by SAUL KAMIONSKY | Aug 22, 2019

The telephonic helpline, which is completely confidential, was launched at the Houghton Estate Office Park on Sunday. It will be up and running on 26 August.

Twenty volunteers who have undergone extensive training in counselling at Families South Africa will man the phone. They can provide help, compassion, or even just a sympathetic ear to people grappling with suicide, rape, addiction, cyberbullying, or LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, or queer questioning) challenges.

Ann Matthews, who ran the 702 Helpline for 13 years, was brought in to work on the project by 702 founder Issie Kirsh. Matthews describes the helpline as a “fabulous initiative”.

“We are here for anybody who wants to phone us. We will listen and council you so that you can have hope again,” Matthews says. “Our greatest assets on the helpline are our volunteers. We have been blessed with committed people who have gone through training. They want to help.”

ChaiFM will also take the support service to schools in the form of industrial theatre and comedy roadshows, covering issues such as bullying and self-harm.

The helpline will offer information on available community resources. In the case of an emergency, a caller will be referred to another helpline.

ChaiFM Chief Executive Kathy Kaler says there is a dire need for the helpline because “we are living in an overwhelming time, flooded with information and under time pressure, so sometimes you just need to offload to somebody”.

“This project doesn’t need my blessing because it has Hashem’s blessing. It’s doing G-d’s work on earth,” said Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein. “I know that because one of the 613 mitzvot is to imitate and do what G-d does.

“The Talmud says that if you want to be like G-d in this world, then live with compassion and kindness. This helpline is all about that because, in times of distress, every human being needs compassion.”

  • The helpline number is 0800 24 24 36. It will be open from 09:00 to 17:00, Mondays to Thursdays, and from 09:00 to 15:00 on Fridays.

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