Helplines Partnership co-host Charity Hour
Every Wednesday night, between 8 – 9pm on Twitter people come together to talk about all things charity for #CharityHour.
The hour is a weekly themed Twitter chat. Each week covers a different area and it’s an opportunity for people who work with, in or support charities to get involved in the discussions.
On 5 August Helplines Partnership co-hosted with Harrison Mann’s Tahera Mayat to talk about the work of helplines.
Accessing support when you are ready to talk
It was great to see so many people, and some of our members, getting involved. The theme was ‘accessing support when you are ready to talk’, it was really interesting to hear people’s thoughts and views.
Over the course of the hour, five questions were posted, at 10-minute intervals, to allow time for people to discuss each question. Here’s a snapshot of some of the discussions and comments from the hour.
Q1. When you think about the term ‘helpline’ what does it mean to you?
- @OfficialCause4: A human being at the end of the phone line who listens, and can offer advice (if appropriate).
- @onthemapuk: Support! But not only for those in need, but for the extended network abound then! People for people basically.
- @CharityHourUK: People for people, I like that! I think most need helplines at some point, as you say, to build on support network.
- @onthemapuk: Definitely! Alzheimer’s Society came to mind for me, often helping the network around the person with the condition, so they can all help each other.
Q2. What help and support does your organisation provide to staff and volunteers? Will this change in future?
- @helplinesUK: It’s important to have support systems in place, this includes regular 1-2-1s, clear boundaries around service provision and also that people know how to and are given the time and space to practice self-care. Especially as many people are working at home now.
- @gemskha: I think it’s also really important to have a culture of support with peer and group supervisions that can manage Compassion fatigue and promote learning and growth.
Q3. Off the top of your head, what are the first three helplines that come to mind and why?
- @colvinecomms: Childline - it's been around since I was a kid. Small Charities Coalition - an org I admire and follow on socials. Samaritans - again, one of the well known ones and they do great marketing.
- @nestandgrowcic: Top three helplines are @MHM_Info for #mentalhealth support @Dadsunltd for separated families and @VS_Kent for victim support.
- @sarahdangar: For me it is the National Domestic Abuse Line run by @RefugeCharity, the incredible @samaritans and @RespectUK Men’s Line. Very much my narrow sector lens perhaps!
- @GetCollecTin: Childline, @samaritans and @LGBTSwitchboard.
- @CharityHourUK: I think helplines are niche, not in the sense they're not for everyone because who knows when you might need that help, but niche as in we all have ones close to us IMHO xx.
Q4. It’s not just people working on a helpline that can hear difficult and upsetting things. Charity fundraisers, comms and social media teams can too. How can they look after their wellbeing?
- @sccoalition: Debriefing is really important. We have had some very distressing calls. Always important that there is someone to share the emotions.
- @OfficialCause4: Yes def. I think people reach out for help using social media channels more than ever now. And with mental health support under such strain with demand being able to signpost people to a source of support is so important.
- @muhmdibneahmd: Taking time out and talking is key. I will honestly say I presently have the best manager I've ever had (but don't tell @MashyShaikh that I said this). Taking time out to ask colleagues and staff about something that's affected them means a lot. It really helps.
- @ColonelDuckProd: It can be challenging, but there are exercises people can do to manage their wellbeing. Organisations could get professionals, like a counsellor, in to talk to their teams about how to look after their own wellbeing and give them the guidance they need.
Q5. If you were looking for advice, support or information how would you, as an individual, feel more comfortable accessioning it – phone, email, text or webchat?
- @OfficialCause4: For me personally it’s phone to really feel supported, but it depends on the nature of the help needed. Emails would work well for info based support and I like that young people (or anyone) can access mental health support using text with a certain helpline.
- @annamichellewil: I emailed @brainstrust initially when I was looking for support last year (they were great), and they called me and followed up after. It takes a lot of confidence or equally desperation to pick up the phone sometimes.
- @muhmdibneahmd: I'd say phone, because I do like to natter.- I'd use written forms in a creative way to release the angst maybe, or to bring the knots to the surface. But verbal communication allows you to share thoughts without thinking. That can reveal the hidden frustrations.
- @colvinecomms: Web chat would probably be my preferred method.
Connection and learning
Co-hosting charity hour was a fantastic opportunity to connect with new people and chat about the work that helplines do but also about how as individuals working in and with the charity sector we can look after our own wellbeing.
Paula Ojok, CEO of Helplines Partnership, who was online and got involved in the discussions said: “It's was great to have so many people talking about the fantastic work helplines do, see some of our members getting involved and a good response to the questions.”
Interested in co-hosting your own #CharityHour?
We took a lot away from our hour, it provided a platform for people to come together and discuss helplines as well as how and when people can access support.