Free emotional support from The Help Hub
Launched in April 2020 to ease the detrimental mental health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Help Hub’s volunteer psychotherapists and counsellors offer free emotional support to anyone in the UK in need. Here, The Help Hub’s founder, Ruth Chaloner, named Frontline Hero in the Good Morning Britain 1 Million Minutes Awards, tells Timely how to access support, and explains why The Help Hub needs more volunteers.
What is The Help Hub?
We are a UK registered charity that provides free, confidential, emotional support from qualified psychotherapists and counsellors. Our service is available to anyone in the UK, and we have over 800 volunteer therapists with the capacity to provide 2,500 sessions each week.
How do people access support from Help Hub?
We’ve made it as easy as possible to access support:
- Go to www.thehelphub.co.uk
- Select ‘Book an appointment’.
- Pick either ‘video call’ or ‘telephone call’.
- Choose an appointment time from the available slots.
- At the time of your appointment, the therapist will contact you via your chosen option; either by telephone or Skype.
How long is a The Help Hub appointment?
Each session is 20 minutes long, and that’s very deliberate. The sessions exist to provide emotional support, rather than psychotherapy or counselling, which means anyone can get help with anything that they need in the moment. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sometimes just talking to someone can be really helpful.
That certainly doesn’t mean that you are limited to just one session; you can book further appointments. You won’t get the same therapist each time, but what you will get each time is a qualified professional who knows how to help you.
How did The Help Hub start?
I’m a psychotherapist and, prior to COVID-19, I’d been thinking about setting up some kind of service for people who can’t afford therapy, or who had a long wait to access support via the NHS. When the pandemic arrived, I realised we needed to accelerate things. Soon after the website was created, the national press and media picked up on The Help Hub and we ran a call-out for volunteers, which got an incredible response.
Are you still recruiting volunteer psychotherapists and counsellors?
Yes, very much so. We initially recruited over 800 volunteer therapists, there was such a huge impetus to help. Like everyone else, therapists are also struggling with fatigue and, understandably, volunteer numbers have dropped down a bit. But the number of people in need of emotional support is ever-increasing so we are actively recruiting volunteer psychotherapists and counsellors.
The Help Hub Founder, Ruth Chaloner, is presented with her Frontline Hero Award during the virtual Good Morning Britain 1 Million Minutes Awards Ceremony that streamed live online, in December 2020.
How can therapists volunteer for The Help Hub?
It would be hugely appreciated if people could spread the word that we are recruiting for volunteer therapists.
Would you encourage beauty industry professionals to contact The Help Hub for support?
Absolutely! We encourage anyone who needs it to book a session. The hair and beauty industry can be quite a lonely world. You’re make sure your staff are okay. You’re making sure that your clients are okay. You’re also trying to make your business survive. It can feel quite hard to reach out for support. Sometimes somebody that you don’t know, who has no agenda but is a professional and knows how to help is exactly what you need.
What common emotions are you hearing from people who contact The Help Hub?
Overwhelm. There’s this massive, massive overwhelm that people are feeling right now. We’ve all been carrying a heaviness and fear. It’s a very tangible fear about our own safety, our business, our relationships, everything. And it’s got heavier and heavier. People are anxious, lonely, confused, sad, angry; utterly overwhelmed.
What can people do if they are concerned about someone else?
As obvious as it sounds, if you feel like something isn’t quite right with someone, then a good place to start is by simply asking them how they are, if they are ok. Explore who they have around them, ask them who they are talking to at the moment. Just very gentle questions. You can get an enormous amount of information out of somebody by just asking really simple things.
Ask leading questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Then, if you think they might need a little bit of help, you could say that ‘a friend’ had told you about something called The Help Hub, that they had accessed a 20 minute support chat which they found very helpful. And then leave it there. Introduce The Help Hub in a very, very relaxed way, so that they have an opportunity to process that information and take it on board in the way that they choose.
What’s next for The Help Hub?
We’ve just been awarded charity status, so a JustGiving page will be available soon, to enable people to donate. Beyond COVID, we are sadly going to have an enormous mental health epidemic, so The Help Hub needs to grow, in order to provide support to as many people as possible.
If you are feeling stressed, anxious or lonely, you can book a free 20-minute emotional support session with a qualified therapist, or to volunteer for The Help Hub, please visit https://www.thehelphub.co.uk/