Norfolk and Waveney work-stress charity aided by cash boost from Norfolk Community Foundation

A small Norfolk charity for sufferers of work-related stress and depression is looking to reach more people in the work place.

Lifeline is run by Norman Smith, 80, and is a volunteer-led telephone service born out of the Norfolk and Norwich Suicide Bereavement Support Group (NNSBSG).

Mr Smith started the group after suffering from depression, and now feels it is time to tackle the problem of stress-related mental health problems.

With a donation of �1,400 from the Norfolk Community Foundation, Mr Smith and his team will begin to get their name known in workplaces in Norfolk and Waveney, making contact with employers and displaying posters on staff notice boards.

Mr Smith said: 'Those involved with the Mental Health and Wellbeing at Work Strategy are doing excellent work and some employers do have occupational health teams.

'Unfortunately some employees, for any number of reasons, find it difficult to talk to others within their company.

'Many who are stressed are reluctant to talk to their doctor as they believe that if depression is recorded on their medical history this may affect their future employment.'

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Mr Smith attended a mental health charity conference in January, which talked about projects to help sufferers of mental illness find employment.

But he realised through his work with the NNSBSG that there was a gap needing to be filled.

'What I found was that people in work need help. I went to a work place the other day where an employee had committed suicide, I talked to the whole company,' he added.

The charity has telephone operators across the county. It currently takes about 400 calls a year but its small size allows its volunteers to work with people long after the initial phone call.

Mr Smith added: 'This money will help us get out into these companies, and really make contact.

'We are so grateful to the Community Foundation, who have helped us before – we could not exist without them.

'Without question it has opened up a new avenue. If anyone is interested in becoming part of our volunteer team then please make contact.'

Lifeline and the Suicide Bereavement Support Group can be contacted on 01263 768604, or by emailing lifeline@suicidebereavement.co.uk or talk@phonelifeline.org

Visit the websites at www.suicidebereavement.co.uk or www.phonelifeline.org

joe.wilkes@archant.co.uk