Red Cross has new helpline to support the elderly

The ‘Let’s Talk’ (As Milisoume) service was launched “with the aim of providing psychosocial support to people experiencing loneliness and isolation due to the restrictive measures,” as well as those who do not have access or are not familiar with social media, the society’s First Vice President Leda Koursoumba said in a recent interview.

The helpline is available on 22504412 on a 24/7 basis operating with CRCS professionals.

Third age individuals in need of support may call the line directly, while their relatives or friends may also contact the service to submit a referral for them.

“It does not replace professional help from psychologists / psychiatrists / neurologists or other health professionals but works in the form of supportive telephone communications aimed at reducing feelings of loneliness,” the vice president explained.

Koursoumba called on the public to seek information about the service “and to inform afterwards their relatives, or to call to report incidents that they consider in need of support”.

The communication between the phone operators and the callers is recommended on a weekly basis.

“It is important to not let anyone feel alone,” she said.

Those who receive psychosocial support through the Let’s Talk helpline are initially evaluated by a specialist psychologist “during which the personal data of the person concerned should always be given in a context of confidentiality,” according to Koursoumba.

“An interdisciplinary team worked for the design and implementation of this service with a view to ensuring the quality and protection of the personal data of those served,” she added.

The initiative was part of the Red Cross services to support the elderly and vulnerable groups of the population during the pandemic which included the creation of emergency support service in March 2020 to provide food, basic necessities and medicines to people.

As a member of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, the Cyprus Red Cross Society, “has significant humanitarian action, not only in time of war, but also in time of peace,” Koursoumba added.

CRCS is the largest organisation in Cyprus and amongst others it helps prevent and alleviate human suffering and supports individuals and communities prepare for, and respond to emergencies, “without any discrimination as to race, gender, age, social, religion or politics,” as their website states.

The society begun its operation in the island in 1950 as a branch of the British Red Cross and was officially recognised by the International Committee Red Cross (ICRC) in 2012. CRCS is the 188th member of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

For further information please contact 22 504412 or pss@redcross.org.cy.

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