To coincide with the 3yr anniversary of FamilyLine we looked at key numbers which have defined our FamilyLine service’s first three years. Here, in a short series of articles, we hear from some of the people behind the numbers and the families that we have helped via the helpline and our newly developed tier 2 services.
Loneliness is a huge problem for many of us in the UK – and it’s not going anywhere, with a recent report by the Campaign to End Loneliness showing that around a million more people became chronically lonely during the recent pandemic. But despite these headline-grabbing figures, we know from our work that loneliness is by no means restricted to times of national crisis.
That’s why, with the support of our partners LV=, we’ve put in place tier 2 befriending, coaching and counselling services to help people contacting our FamilyLine service who need a little more support. Here we tell the story of Sibel, and how a FamilyLine befriender helped her through a difficult time.
Sibel moved to the UK from abroad just under four years ago and had found it difficult to form meaningful relationships since doing so.
Because she was looking after her children she wasn’t working and her partner’s busy job kept him away from the house. Although her partner’s family were supportive, they were not always physically present.
Sibel was also diagnosed with anxiety and depression not long before she contacted our FamilyLine and this difficult situation meant that she felt socially isolated.
She said: “I had literally no friends”.
After an initial conversation we decided that Sibel would benefit from spending some time working with one of the service’s befrienders.
We worked with her to improve her household environment, develop social activities with her partner and his family and work on self care strategies.
These included yoga, meditation and mindfulness techniques to help manage the panic attacks she’d been having.
While doing so we noticed that she felt safest in her own house, so we helped her to work on ways to feel more comfortable leaving her home.
We also encouraged her to attend a support group for parents to meet other parents and share similar experiences and emotions.
Although the relationships with her family were mainly positive, we also helped Sibel better communicate her concerns and suggestions to her partner and his family by ensuring she could first talk them through with her befriender.
After working with our service Sibel said that her panic attacks had reduced, and she felt that it had gone well.
She said: “I felt really good after I spoke to my befriender as she is an unbiased person who can actually listen and comment on what I can share with her. I looked forward to speaking to her every week!”
“I felt really good after I spoke to my befriender as she is an unbiased person who can actually listen and comment on what I can share with her. I looked forward to speaking to her every week!”
No one should suffer alone. If you feel you need a listening ear to support you with any aspect of family life you can contact FamilyLine for free practical information and guidance. If you’d like to support the work of Family Action please visit our Get Involved page.