Print Posted By Lost in France on 11 Mar 2007 in Living in France - Living in France

SOS Help Line - English speaking support service

In the early 70s staff at the American Hospital observed an increase in the number of English-speaking patients experiencing psychiatric emergencies. Aware that English- speaking people in France did not have the support of the range of crisis and advice lines they would have had access to at home, several individuals and organizations helped to set up the service. Chad Varah, founder of the UK Samaritans was invited to Paris to assist and advise. SOS Amitie helped as the umbrella organization in France and with its contacts with Befrienders International. Finally the American Hospital volunteered to house the line for 4 hours per day and the SOS Help service opened on 1 October 1974.

{loadposition contentad}SOS Help is a voluntary community service offering emotional support to English-speaking people in France. Empathetic listeners from all walks of life and nationalities listen to callers feeling lonely, anxious or depressed - or who just need someone totalk to in their own language. For some callers, life in France may be not exactly what they expected - they may be frustrated or just need some practical advice as to where they can get the help they need. Recent statistics show that issues most frequently discussed are personal (loneliness) followed by health/depression and relationships. Approximately 3% are crisis related (suicide, alcohol/drugs, rape and violence). Some people call regularly - SOS Help is part of their support system.

The Listeners are trained by professional psychologists in listening skills and specific topics such as bereavement, suicide and drug abuse. They are empathetic, non-judgmental and non-directive. They continue to take part in ongoing training throughout their stay with SOS Help.

Recruitment normally takes place twice a year for Listeners and Supporters - in spring and autumn.
Opportunities such as fundraising, publicity and management are available to Supporters.

The line is totally dependant on donations from the Community and individual donors. Community events such as the regular book sales bring in the majority of the funds. SOS Help is most fortunate and honoured to have the support of Lady Holmes, British Embassy, Paris as our Patron.

SOS Help is affiliated to SOS Amite and is a registered charity under the law of 1901.
Whatever the problem, we are there to take your call every day from 3 to 11pm
call SOS Help on 01 46 21 46 46

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