It’s good to talk: helplines and coronavirus

Helplines are supporting people with their mental health during this period of physical isolation. 

The British Red Cross, for example, has launched a coronavirus support line to help people affected by the pandemic. People from the charity’s psychosocial and mental health support team are offering practical and emotional support. 

Find out more about how to get support for your mental health at home including if you’re studying and working from home in our FREE AbilityNet LIVE! webinar. 

We’ll hear from a member of the British red Cross helpline team, among others

Norman McKinley, British Red Cross executive director of UK operations said: “We want to make sure that people are getting the help they need. Our volunteers are taking calls from people who are struggling to get hold of medicines or food – especially those who are shielding at the moment.

“Our volunteers are all trained in psycho-social skills. They can provide a listening ear, practical advice and can quickly redirect people to organisations in their local area that can help. Having someone on the end of the phone when you feel most alone can be a lifeline in times like this.” 

People working on the support line have supported people with other disasters including the Grenfell Tower fire. 

Call 0808 196 3651 to speak to a friendly British Red Cross volunteer.

The Silver Line: Supporting older people 

For older people The Silver Line (in partnership with Age UK) offers information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

All calls to The Silver Line helpline (0800 4 70 80 90) are free and confidential, and you can call for information, friendship and advice. 

The service can signpost callers to local groups and services or can offer regular friendship calls for older people who may be experiencing loneliness during lockdown – or at any time. 

How AbilityNet can help

AbilityNet believes in a digital world accessible to all. During the lockdown, our helpline is still here to support disabled and older people to adapt their technology.

Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution. We’re open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

You can call AbilityNet’s helpline on 0300 180 0028.

Please note: calls to our helpline number cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls, and AbilityNet does not receive any money from these calls.

We also have online tools designed to help. 

We have a range of factsheets that talk in detail about technology that might help you, which you can download for free and My Computer My Way. A free interactive guide to all the accessibility features built into current desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.