A national Christian helpline has seen a surge in calls over the past two weeks, with many people concerned about the current coronavirus pandemic.
Premier lifeline is a free telephone service that offers a “listening ear” to those in need of someone to talk to.
Director Jonathan Clark said the charity has received a third more calls than usual, with a fifth of people phoning to discuss concerns about COVID 19.
“With all that's going on in the media, it's raising anxieties and people are becoming quite agitated about the news and concerns for themselves and concerns for others,” he told Premier.
Although some people continue to call with a range of other issues, Clark says many people who are now feeling isolated and afraid are finding the service useful.
“The first and foremost thing is to actually be there as a listening ear, as someone to share with and offload how you're feeling,” Clark explains.
Concerns have ranged from fears and risks associated with contracting and spreading the virus to children and the vulnerable (particularly those within the NHS), feeling overwhelmed and tired, concerns about employment and financial stability, and a lack of access to food and services.
Clark has been encouraged that the service is helping people in a range of ways.
“We also have the opportunity to talk about life, reflect on life from a faith perspective and to bring God into it,” he said.
“It’s a chance to take it to God and let us look to him for peace and for hope.”
As more people begin to reflect on life in light of the coronavirus pandemic, Clark hopes the service can help strengthen people’s faith in God.