We aim to get callers to "spread their wings" after talking to us.

When COVID-19 struck and public life stopped, the number of people suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health problems started to rise. The Slovenian Psychologists' Association (DPS) quickly organised itself and rushed to their aid. When your fellow citizens are in need, you want to help to the best of your ability, the association's president, Marko Vrtovec, told us.

What prompted you to start your project or initiative?

Because of the nature of our work, psychologists were the first to detect an increased threat to mental health in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic. Shortly after the onset of the epidemic, our colleagues working in the health, education and social sectors started to report an increased incidence of frustration, depression, outbursts of anger and suicidal thoughts among their patients or people in their care.

With this information, we turned to the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ), where they accepted our initiative for voluntary assistance with open arms, as they themselves did not have the resources to launch a project for psychological support to the population when the COVID-19 epidemic started. As a non-governmental organisation, we were also able to organise and provide assistance much faster than would be possible through official channels.

How has your project been received? Have you obtained any feedback from the people you helped? (Can you give us an example, if you have any?)

We quote some comments from the forum of telephone counsellors:

"During yesterday evening's shift, I received a call from young Miss Mija, who praised the conversation with the counsellor the day before (1. 12.) highly and said that the conversation was not only very helpful but in some way saved her."

"Phone 080 5100 received praise from a caller from Ptuj, who got "just such a boost" after talking to a counsellor. Bravo!"

"May as many callers as possible be able to bravely "spread their wings" as I did after this conversation."

How will you use this specific funding to provide further help in the community? Are you already planning any new projects?

We have not yet taken a decision on this. We will make the decision in the circle of the DPS crisis team for COVID-19 and telephone counsellors, because these are the volunteers who most deserve the EESC award.

What advice would you give to other organisations in terms of achieving results with such activities and programmes?

When your home country is in need, don't ask if, when or how you will be rewarded, but help quickly to the best of your ability. And don't worry: good and socially useful work will always be noticed and recognised.