The British Chamber is hosting the 3rd edition of the Great Brussels Charity Bake Off this March. This year, we’ll be raising money for Community Help Service. Take a look at what services they can offer to you, from their Chairman, Geoff Brown
Community Help Service (CHS) is a non-profit organisation that provides information, support and mental health services to anyone in Belgium who needs help and prefers to speak English, regardless of nationality and circumstances. It was set up in 1971 to provide help to people from the expatriate community, mainly those with English as their mother tongue. Brussels has changed considerably since then and many of those now supported by CHS are not native English speakers.
The services offered by CHS are:
Helpline: This is an anonymous, confidential, 24/7 telephone service in English, for children, adolescents and adults. It is oper
ated by volunteers (who are trained, supported and supervised by professionals) who can provide general information, support and help in a crisis. During 2015, the Helpline received more than 3,400 calls.
Mental Health Centre:
A professional team of clinical psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists offers confidential support and professional services. In addition to English, individual members of the Clinical Team work in Catalan, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Romanian and Spanish. The team deals with a wide range of problems, such as:
– Children’s learning and behavioural difficulties
– Parenting issues
– Drug and alcohol addiction
– Depression and anxiety
– Acute distress and behavioural change
– Couple and family difficulties
– Sexual problems
The team also offers psycho-educational evaluations for children, highly valued by the international schools in Brussels and Luxembourg. Starting in 2016, these evaluations are available in French and German as well as in English.
Different parameters may be considered in determining the cost of counselling. No-one is turned away for lack of funds.
More than 700 new clients contacted the Mental Health Centre in 2015, representing almost 40 nationalities.
Since 2013, CHS has been working with Castle Craig Hospital, a Scotland-based addiction treatment centre.
The CHS office, operated by volunteers, is open from 10.00 to 16.00 on Monday to Friday (10.00 to 13.00 during July and August). Therapists work outside these hours, offering appointments during evenings and on Saturdays.
Unlike the 3 Belgian national language helplines which are subsidised by their respective regional authorities, CHS receives no subsidy for its services to the English speaking community. While contributions from the Clinical Team significantly finance the Mental Health Centre running costs, CHS therefore relies on income from community associations, sponsorship and donations, the annual calendar and fund-raising events to finance its Helpline and to break even.
If you would like further information e.g. with regard to becoming a volunteer or providing financial or other support, please contact CHS at the address, e-mail or telephone number mentioned below. Alternatively, the upcoming 2016 Great Brussels Charity Bake-off on 22 February and 21 March will be raising money for CHS.
If you want to compete in this year’s bake-off, there’s still time! Click here to register