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Telephone Befriending: Carol and Jae’s Story

03 November 2023

Carol was a full time carer for her mother and had become socially isolated when, due to lockdown, her adult education classes and a transgender social group she attended ceased. This meant that Carol’s mother was the only person she had regular contact with.

A health professional referred Carol to MHA, it was recognised that Carol was living with depression and anxiety, as she reported feeling lost and alone at the time.

MHA contacted Carol to talk about telephone befriending and find out more about her to try and ensure the best befriending match.  Carol wanted to talk to someone who had similar interests to her who she could form a connection with. It was important to Carol that the person she was matched with was made aware that she is a transgender lady and felt comfortable with this.

Jae joined MHA as a volunteer with our LGBTQ+ befriending service. Jae was looking for a way to support people experiencing loneliness as part of their outreach. A co-worker, on hearing what Jae was seeking to do referred them to the MHA website, and they signed up the same day.

Befriending Coordinator, Julie, reviewed Carol and Jae’s profiles. She noticed that they both liked science fiction and enjoyed reading. Jae came across that they were very open minded and were happy to support anyone from the LGBTQ+ community or an ally. Julie contacted Carol and Jae who were both pleased with the match and the first call was arranged. 

Carol said they clicked straight away. Over time as they have built up a friendship, being matched to Jae has given her a lifeline and a purpose. Knowing that she has a call each week and something to look forward to has improved her quality of life, made her feel happier and reduced her feelings of loneliness. Carol has also found the calls have helped her to gain back her confidence which she had lost through lockdown, so much so that she has now also joined a local book club.

On the befriending service, Carol says:

“Everyone I have spoken to from the befriending team have been so kind and I have never felt like they have been reading a script its all been straight from the heart.

I would recommend the service to others. My life would not be the same if I hadn’t have found MHA.

I feel happier.”

On volunteering Jae has found that it encourages them to be more active, they say “as we start off by catching up, I know that I have actively done things on my slower weeks so that I had something to discuss!” Talking to Carol has become the highlight of their week, Carol has always got “a new fascinating tidbit about local history”, Jae also enjoys her sense of humour. 

We asked Jae if they would recommend the service to others.  They said:

“I absolutely would recommend people give this a try, and have to a few of my friends! I think the main thing I would add that’s not included in the others is how fulfilling it is to take 30 mins out of the day to have a good chat with her, its very rare that we get the opportunity in life to just talk with someone, and doing this for a while has really opened my eyes to how important that is.”

Become a Telephone Befriender

Become a Telephone Befriender

We need volunteers to regularly call an older person and help reduce loneliness. Could this be you?

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