Keep calm and call a chaplain

Keep calm and call a chaplain

Chaplaincy Australia launched their national ‘1800 Chaplain’ hotline on Monday, November 15  to provide support to people in the community over the phone.

Chaplaincy Australia director of Queensland and Northern Territory Angie Herranz, who spent 11 years working as a chaplain in Logan West, said the 1800 Chaplain hotline will be available for anyone to call.

“I truly believe this will help keep those struggling with mental health in our community safe,” she said.

The service will initially be open from 2-8 pm seven days a week, but will eventually become available 24/7.

Mrs Herranz started her chaplaincy journey in 2010 working in schools in Browns Plains and Park Ridge.

“That’s where I learned how to become a chaplain and gain all the experience that has now placed me in this position,” she said.

After volunteering for three years as a school chaplain, Mrs Herranz accepted a paid school chaplain role, and she also worked in shopping centers by looking out for people in the community who were struggling. 

She became a street chaplain with Chaplain Watch from 2016 to October 2021, where she worked night shifts from 10:30pm -4am in Fortitude Valley, supporting people who were nightclubbing, partying, and drinking.

“It involved making sure people got home safely, so looking out for vulnerable young girls or people who had too much to drink and were passed out on a street corner; making sure those people didn’t get taken advantage of because of the situation they had found themselves in,” she said.

She also helped communities in New South Wales affected by fires during the 2019 bushfires.

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Angie Herranz (second from the right) was deployed to the Woolgoolga, Macksville, and Kempsey during the 2019 bushfires to comfort and support locals who had fled their properties and taken shelter in evacuation centres.

She moved from Logan West six months ago to pursue her new position as the director of Queensland and Northern Territory for Chaplaincy Australia.

“Our national director, Ralph Estherby, has had it on his heart for a number of years to be able to provide a community support hotline,” she said.

“Given the recent times we find ourselves now in, he recognised that now is probably the best time to be able to do that.”

Chaplaincy Australia discovered that other support hotlines were currently flooded with calls and were unable to keep up with the number of people seeking support over the phone.

“There’s a pretty huge demand for this kind of service,” Mrs Herranz said.

“We decided that we would launch 1800 Chaplain, and it’s a confidential, non-judgemental safe place that people can offload and get advice and support regardless of their situation, personal beliefs, or circumstances.

“This is a national hotline and it will be made available to all of our Logan residents free of charge as an additional support service to the community.”

Mrs Herranz said people could call for support in a number of areas including financial pressures, mental health, carers support, questions about life, stress related to the pandemic, emotional issues, moral dilemmas, faith, work pressures and more.

In situations like domestic violence or suicide risk, 1800 Chaplain has a network of referral services to connect callers to.

The phone network can also help callers in need of access to food and other essential things.

https://www.chaplaincyaustralia.com/1800chaplain/ 

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