This Corona virus crisis, while causing many hardships, is also providing new opportunities.
The Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs decided to finance and launch, in June 2020, a 24/7 pastoral care telephone line. Because the Academy has trained pastoral care givers for approximately 30 years, the Ministry asked us to initiate and run this operation. Initially, financing was offered through December 31, 2020 but we are happy that financing is continuing also through 2021.
Siimon Haamer is the coordinator of this helpline. The pastoral care telephone line started June 17, 2020. The information was very well presented through many Estonian media channels and in the evening on the main Estonian TV news program. We began receiving calls immediately after the public announcement and the line has been occupied most of the time.
The first six months of operation the line has been more actively used than the Ministry of Social Affairs expected. People really need our help. We have received over 15,000 calls. 40% of the calls are about anxiety and loneliness. 8% are individuals planning to end their life and we are their last option. Many of them have become regular callers.