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FamilyLine a free out of hours helpline for families

22 January 2019

FamilyLine is a free digital helpline service provided by Family Action, for parents and carers.  

FamilyLine was designed to offer support for families to prevent challenges from reaching crisis point and provide an early intervention, via text, phone or email.  It’s available to support any family seven days a week and during the evening and at weekends when other support services may be closed.  The only days the helpline closes is Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Easter Friday.

Parenting is usually a very private matter in our country. Many parents facing parenting challenges may feel reluctant to ask for advice from family, friends with children or indeed anyone because of embarrassment or a reluctance to share details of their private life. Some parents will not have anyone that they feel they can talk to. Others will feel confused by what help is available or struggle to access services at a time that suits them. Whatever their situation, all parents are likely to benefit from practical advice and emotional support from time to time.
Here is the story of Jen, a Mum who called FamilyLine:
Jen* had called FamilyLine on several occasions before accepting the offer for more regular virtual help. FamilyLine staff helped Jen self-assess where she thought she was in terms of emotional and mental well-being. Jen felt she was generally nervous, anxious and on edge.
Jen could continue to use the helpline for suppor whilst being matched with a virtual counsellor. Within just two weeks Jen had already had her first session, talking about the everyday challenges of family life and her daughter’s additional needs. As the sessions continued, Jen and her virtual counsellor, Sarah*, worked together to look more closely at her situation. For example, Jen revealed that she was always feeling tired and kept thinking she was letting her family down.

“Parenting is usually a very private matter in our country… some parents will not have anyone that they feel they can talk to.”

Through further self-assessment, Sarah was able to support Jen when she said she thought she was struggling to relax and was becoming easily irritated. Sarah helped Jen reflect on the way she reacted to her family’s needs and gave her relaxation techniques to try.
The flexibility of FamilyLine meant Jen could talk about her day-to-day challenges in the comfort of her home, allowing her to really embrace each session. Half way through her time with Sarah, Jen felt she had a more positive outlook towards her feeling that she was letting her family down. Eventually she was able to reflect on the therapeutic journey with her virtual counsellor, deciding to finish counselling since she felt she was in a ‘good place’. There was no feeling bad about herself or that she was letting her family down.
*Names have been changed to protect identity
Other comments from FamilyLine callers:
“I wanted to say thank you for the support, I think it was really helpful and I am feeling a lot better now”
“Thank you for being there for me I feel a little relief knowing someone is there for me as I have tried a few times for help and not succeeded”
“Thank you for being there for me the chat tonight was a release for me”

FamilyLine at a glance

Any parent or carer from anywhere in England and Wales can get in touch with the service for free via telephone, text message or email, using the below details.

Opening times:

Monday to Friday 6pm-10pm

Saturday and Sunday 10am-1pm

Telephone: 0808 802 6666

Text message: 07537 404 282

Email: familyline@family-action.org.uk