Listening Hearts' Team Of Volunteers Listens To Your Pandemic-Related Woes Free Of Cost
Listening Hearts is an initiative of 11 wellness coaches who are there to hear you out and to guide you in the best possible way to tide over the stress and depression setting in with the virus.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc in our lives, with its second wave being difficult on many levels. Almost everyone has lost near and dear ones to COVID-19 and those who have the disease not only deal with illness, but also the anxiety of it becoming worse. Even those in good health are not spared, with many descending into a negative mental space induced by reading reports of the loss of life and devastation. Many people simply feel cut off and lonely, have a fear of being isolated as patients, are concerned about being exhausted as caregivers working endlessly to help patients and their families, feel anxious about not having the means to earn a livelihood, are confused and anxious about the uncertainty of the future…. This list goes on, leaving no one unaffected in India.
To allay these concerns, the team of certified and experienced coaches at Listening Hearts have emerged as their own kind of Covid warriors – by lending a sympathetic ear to everyone who needs it. Nasreen Khan, Coach and Facilitator, is one of 11 people volunteering for this noble cause. She says, “we aim to provide free support in confidential listening without judgement. Since people find it difficult to share their feelings with family and friends, we hope to fill the void of not having empathetic and compassionate people to share problems with in difficult times.” Stressing on the difference between counselors and coaches, Khan explains that the team at Listening Hearts intends to provide a safe space for listening and support. If the person needs a mental health specialist, they are referred to such specialists who have also volunteered their service to this cause.
They began on May 1, 2021 when the second wave was at its peak and people felt stretched every which way. Anyone who needs their service can contact them via email or register through a google form, which is being widely shared through their personal networks and social media. Within a time-frame of 24 hours, one of the volunteers reaches out to the person concerned, listens to them and if needed, schedules a follow-up call. If the volunteer member feels that more professional intervention of a trained counsellor / psychotherapist is required, the person is referred to one. The team is particular about following up with all emails and form requests as soon as possible, and have been scheduling calls from 6 a.m. to midnight.
Nasreen Khan shares, “Most people who come to us are first timers, having never consulted mental health professionals. We are blessed that people are reaching out to us in the initial stages and we are able to help them. We also refer, if required, some of them to certified counsellors/psychotherapists.” She shares a few examples of people who have felt better after speaking to them.
One person had unexpectedly lost his job, and was concerned since he was the sole bread winner of the family. He felt he was sinking into depression due to the loss of job and expenses to catch up to every month. After speaking to one of the volunteer coaches, a shift occurred in his thinking - he felt more positive, energized and optimistic about the future.
A Covid Warrior working on the frontline, reached out to the team to seek help in dealing with the helplessness and grief of seeing so many deaths at close quarters. He was disheartened by the breakdown of the systems and lack of humanity around him. Lamenting his contribution as a meagre drop in the ocean, he felt he was unable to help. After a conversation with one of the coaches, he realized the value of that ‘one drop’ and felt reassured that for every breakdown, there were an equal number of caring human beings who came forward to help and support. He left the call feeling more hopeful and lighter.
One caregiver reached out to Listening Hearts in a state of complete exhaustion and despair. She had struggled for 48 hours, without sleep, to find an ICU bed for her husband, who was Covid positive. She could sense the helplessness of her friends and neighbors at not being able to support her. All she needed was to divert her attention to a more positive, light-hearted conversation, and during the call she mentioned that she was smiling for the first time in more than 4 weeks and feeling much lighter and hopeful.
One lady from Gurugram called the discussion she had with the Listening Hearts team ‘healing’, and a man from Mumbai shared their work with members of his organization, hoping these services would help others too. A person from Chennai admitted to being emotional during the call but was immensely thankful for the support.
This initiative has indeed touched many hearts. Nanni Singh, CEO of ShowCase Events was particularly moved and felt compelled to share the information about their work, far and wide. She says, “Other than the financial and physical aspects of devastation, the pandemic has had a deep impact on our mindsets, with a fear of uncertainty and helplessness setting in. I was delighted to hear about Listening Hearts, an initiative of 11 wellness coaches, including the absolutely fantastic Nasreen Khan. They are there to hear you out, to help guide you in the best possible way to tide over the stress and depression setting in with the virus. At ShowCase Events, we have always believed in lauding the efforts of those who deserve it, and we are attempting to share this with as many people as possible. Please reach out to them, share your concerns and feelings and let them help you overcome this difficult time.”
One can reach out to Listening Hearts through the following methods:
Google form link - https://forms.gle/j1XHUWvfjEZF87Cq9
Email id – firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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