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Help is at hand

Working lives Stress

Civil engineers lead stressful lives.

The job is demanding with long hours and this can place a strain on family commitments and relationships. The ICE Benevolent Fund's helpline is here to help.

Since May the ICE Benevolent Fund has helped dozens of its members through times of personal crisis with its 24 hour a day helpline.

Stress at work, problems with the family, financial worries and difficulties dealing with bereavement are all issues that can be talked through with the helpline's panel of trained counsellors.

'We're all human, we all have problems and most of the time we can sort them out. But from time to time we have issues with which we need help, ' says ICE Benevolent Fund secretary Kris Barnett.

'Extra work, deadlines to meet, targets to achieve, relationships with colleagues to manage - it all adds up. Maybe things with your partner aren't too good. You're arguing constantly, the children are being difficult, the car's on the blink again.

'That's when it can be good to have a helping hand so you can get on top of your life again. And that's where the helpline comes in, ' says Barnett.

The helpline offers free support and advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.

It is manned by counsellors from PPC Worldwide, which has 28 years of experience providing counselling and advice for the employees of major organisations around the world.

The counsellors, who operate from a call centre in Oxford, are highly trained and accredited by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, the industry's professional body. They will have a degree in counselling and at least three years' experience.

'All you do is dial the number, then tell the counsellor you are a member of ICE or a dependant of a member, ' says Barnett. 'You may be asked for some basic information - are you employed and where do you live? If you prefer not to say, that's fine.'

The Benevolent Fund gets a regular statistical update on general themes and trends, which will give them the information to develop initiatives to support ICE members more effectively.

'Personal details will never be disclosed unless you request it so that more help may be offered to you, ' adds Barnett.

The only exception is if another person is at grave risk.

'For example, if the caller is threatening self harm or harm to another person, ' says Barnett.

'We're all brought up to look after other people, and sometimes we can feel ashamed when it's us who need support, ' says Barnett. 'Our helpline's message is simple: it's OK to ask for help.'

What the helpline offers

Immediate 24 hour crisis intervention - someone to talk things through with at any hour of the day or night

One to one telephone counselling - up to three, hour long sessions at a convenient time for you

Referrals to a wide range of community support networks and resources

Telephone debt counselling

Legal advice on personal matters lInformation on help available with children and elders

Bereavement counselling through the ICE Benevolent Fund

INFOPLUS Call the freephone helpline (0800) 587 3428 or email icebenevolent@ppcuk. com

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