I Need Help – Surrey Helpline
I Need Help – Surrey Helpline
‘I need help’ is a helpline and email service for teenagers and young adults in Surrey.
We have been running for two years and run alongside FamilyLine which has been supporting families in the county for over 20 years. ‘I need help’ was set up as a direct result of the number of calls FamilyLine was receiving from and regarding this age group, so a specific service was launched. The helpline is manned by volunteers who have all had extensive training and many of whom have a counselling skills background.
Since launching the service, the caller numbers have more than doubled with one in four callers using the service on an ongoing basis for regular support. Many of the young people who contact us are struggling with feelings of anxiety and stress. These can be heightened at this time of year with many facing their end of year exams. We speak to a lot of students who are struggling with the pressures that the exam season can bring and they often feel that they have nowhere to express their feelings.
However supportive parents and carers may be, it can create an unhappy environment at home when the only subject of conversation is revision and studying with both parents and their children feeling frustrated and angry. Schools and colleges are also under pressure to perform, and they can pile on extra work at this time of year, leaving pupils feeling overwhelmed, trapped and not able to live up to expectations. This in turn can cause arguments and challenging behaviour. Obviously not all students feel like this and some appear to sale through their exams without so much as a sleepless night, but this can make those students who do feel the pressure, feel even worse as they compare themselves to their peers and feel they can’t ever match their success.
Exam stress is just one of many reasons ‘I need help’ get contacted about. Being a teenager in today’s world brings with it a lot of challenges which the previous generation didn’t have to deal with – the most obvious one being social media. Relationships are now played out for all to see and feelings of isolation can be exasperated by seeing photos and posts of others seemingly perfect lives. These feeling of loneliness and isolation can sometimes lead teenagers into a spiral of self-doubt and low self-esteem.
‘I need help’ has been visiting schools, colleges and universities throughout Surrey and without exception, staff have expressed concerns about the increase in stress related conditions such as self harming and eating disorders. There are several signs which may be linked to stress including difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, headaches and mood swings. Anyone experiencing these symptoms could benefit from contacting ‘I need help’.
We want to get the message out there that we are here to help and the sooner people contact us the better. A teenager doesn’t need to be at crisis point to contact us. Our helpline workers are trained to help callers recognise their feelings and make changes in their lives which will help them feel back in control and get things in perspective.
Parents, carers, teachers and other professionals are also able to contact us. We have a database of over 700 local and national organisations which callers can be signposted to for specific problems if appropriate. All calls are free and confidential and calls are not recorded. Callers don’t even need to give their name.
We know that this age group sometimes prefer to communicate electronically and this is why we also offer the email service as an option. Many contact us because they don’t want to share personal problems with friends or family. This may be because they want to keep their problems private, or because they don’t want to worry of upset those closest to them. We offer a totally anonymous service and callers can talk to us about anything at all.
We offer a non-judgemental service and no one is excluded from using us.
‘I need help’ is a registered charity which is supported by Surrey County Council, local and district borough councils as well as generous donations from local organisations and fundraising.
If you would like to make a donation, please visit:
I need help
Free call 0800 141 2055
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm
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