The role of SOS Amitié has perhaps never been so essential. Since the start of the health crisis, the Moselle branch has been breaking calls records. On the other end of the line: increasingly isolated and suicidal people and a much younger audience. Meeting with those who pick up the phone.
At the end of the line, a pensioner in tears, at the end of the roll. In a calm and composed voice, Danielle tries to reassure him. “Did you take your meds correctly?” The listener tries. “And your doctor, what does he think?”
After about twenty minutes of exchanges, she hangs up, serene. “It was hard. He was very bad. But in the end, I felt it much better. He was no longer crying and told me he was going to get some fresh air, ”says the SOS Friendship volunteer as the phone rings again.
Since the start of the health crisis, the 34 Moselle listeners of the Metz antenna have not had a moment’s respite. “We went from 800 to 1,000 calls per month. In April 2020, we even went up to 1,400 ”, describe Mireille, the director, and Élisabeth, in charge of communication.
Recognized as a public utility, the association – the only one to provide 24-hour listening – is relayed by all State communications on Covid-19. The Ministry of Health and Solidarity has even granted her the funds she has been asking for for years. Recognition of its essential role during this unprecedented crisis.
Lots of new
The manager has just discussed with a volunteer who has just managed two suicidal people in quick succession on the same night: “There are unfortunately more and more of them. One of them thanked him for drying up his tears. We also have a lot of people calling for the first time. ”
Among them, an unusual audience, young people: “There are teenagers often in conflict with their parents and who suffer from a lack of relationships with their friends. But also young people of twenty who think they have no future. They are prevented from living and see no way out. You can feel a lot of disappointment with them. ”
The concerns of more regular callers have changed. “During the first lockdown, they told us a lot about the fear of catching the virus.” Since then, their feeling of loneliness has increased tenfold and has taken precedence: “They are cut off from the last ties they had. The family who no longer come, the home help who keeps his distance, the overwhelmed doctor, the lack of entertainment… ”
Need for volunteers
Faced with this explosion of calls, the Metz branch is looking for new volunteers. Once recruited, they undergo a theoretical and practical training of 34 hours. “Our role is to listen, without passing judgment or giving advice. We try to pull a thread through their ball of distress to gently bring them to wonder and to make the decisions themselves. ”
Return with Danielle, this time struggling with a thirty-something disoriented by her administrative hassles and her desire to reorient her professional life. She recognizes herself on edge and the hypothesis of a new confinement worries her. The caller enjoys listening and talking: “I just needed to know that there are still normal human beings.” Danielle can hang up, with the satisfaction of the mission accomplished.