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Premier Lifeline - Confidential Christian Helpline

Premier Lifeline, this year celebrates its 15th birthday and has taken over 750,000 calls. However, the last few weeks has been a time when a shockwave has hit the Helpline world. The trust of the public built up over decades has been undermined by one particular helpline who appeared to breach the trust placed in them by their callers. The trustworthiness of helplines came under question and a call for regulation and legal control.

Premier Lifeline is keen to reassure people that it remains committed to offer real confidentiality and anonymity to those who contact us and that as part of the three national organisations that assure quality to Helpline callers we affirm their statements below in relation to the recent events. Lifeline is available 9am to Midnight every day on 0845 345 0707 or 020 7316 0808.

The Christian Helplines Association (CHA), that represents 7 major Christian Helplines/Prayerlines in the UK would like to reassure all our callers following the recent publicity that has been generated as a result of the breach of confidentiality by the National Bullying Helpline. John Pither, Chair of the CHA, said “All people who contact our helplines/prayerlines can continue to be confident that we can be trusted and are committed to maintaining the confidentiality of all who call us”.

The Helplines Association (THA) is greatly disappointed that an organisation identifying itself as a helpline has breached confidentiality of its users bringing the helpline sector into disrepute. The people involved are now easier to identify and this erodes the trust that a caller needs to be able to use a helpline. The fundamental principle of any helpline is that they help to build the trust and confidence of their user to reach out for help. THA’s main concerns are that helplines retain a high level of confidentiality and that a caller has the trust and confidence to call a helpline. THA places great importance on the confidentiality of a helpline and has guidelines of how, when and to whom it is breached. Rekha Wadhwani, Chief Executive said, “We would like to assure the public that all THA member helplines have had their confidentiality policies reviewed and approved by THA in order to meet the requirements for membership. There are almost 500 helplines responding to 30 million contacts which are doing a sterling job in retaining the trust and confidentiality of their service users. ”

Mental Health Helplines Partnership (mhhp) reassures callers of confidentiality Following the news that Christine Pratt, Chief Executive of the National Bullying Helpline, revealed to the press that staff at Number 10 had contacted the helpline, the Mental Health Helplines Partnership (mhhp) would like to publically reassure callers to its member helplines of their commitment and adherence to respecting the confidentiality of their callers. mhhp, an independent charity that works in partnership with 50 mental health helplines in England, but not the National Bullying Helpline (NBH), does not endorse sharing the content of calls or their location, unless specific callers give explicit permission for their experience to publically be shared as a case study. mhhp, with members, have produced and updated excellent best practice confidentiality guidelines for the sector that are used by helplines to inform their own confidentiality policies and procedures.

Fiona Kerr, Chief Executive, mhhp, says, “mhhp members were very concerned that any helpline, even though the NBH is not within the mhhp membership, could be seen to breach callers’ confidentiality. mhhp members deeply respect the trust that callers put in their helplines and want callers to be confident in the helplines commitment to this. This sector is keen to reassure anyone contacting their helplines of their strict confidentiality policies, discretion and professionalism.”

Jonathan Clark, 05/03/2010


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