Last Updated on Tuesday, 8 November, 2022 at 12:08 pm by Andre Camilleri
Maltese website offering mental health support nominated for an international award
- Richmond Foundation’s online mental health support service is among six international finalists in the category of technology tools at the forthcoming European Social Services awards which recognises technological and digital improvements that enable social services to improve their accessibility, usability by professionals and persons using services, and their availability for those in need.
- Olli.Chat is a partnership between Richmond Foundation and Epic for Good, the CSR arm of Epic, which has been nominated for a European Social Services Award for its contribution to Maltese society.
- Over 2,500 people have turned to the Richmond Foundation’s 24/7 online mental health service OLLI. Chat since it was launched a year ago.
OLLi.Chat is a24/7 chat portal service, easily accessed through any web browser. With a single click, users can initiate a chat about anything, using an alias to receive emotional as well as practical guidance to help you find your way forward. This project is part of a two-year partnership between Richmond Foundation and Epic for Good, Epic’s CSR program, and has achieve international recognition as one of just six finalists at the forthcoming European Social Services Awards. This is just one of the many projects supported through Epic’s ‘Epic for Good’ initiative, in which Epic works with NGOs to co-create, support and fund projects harnessing mobile technology to bring about positive social change.
The platform addresses the growing concern among mental health professionals about younger people, who tend to be uncomfortable seeking mental health assistance, both in person and via telephone. This demographic is underrepresented among those seeking help through traditional means, despite successive surveys having shown that youths report experiencing negative emotions and depressive feelings just as often as older citizens. Since it was launched last year, the platform has helped over 2,500 different people, both in Malta and abroad, with a range of mental health challenges. The service is complimented by in person support when required and works with other local mental health providers to offer a holistic and effective service.
The recent nomination for the European Social Services Awards (ESSA) is further proof that this is indeed an excellent service being offered. `These awards are the only European awards which aim to recognise the excellent work and outstanding achievements in the field of positive social impact across Europe. The awards also shine a spotlight on successful new approaches and the extraordinary ongoing work done by public social services managers, funders, planners, providers, and deliverers of social services.
With most of our lives having shifted online, Epic is perfectly positioned to leverage its technologies to bring about impactful change by linking those in need to Richmond Foundation’s team of professionals. This first of a kind online service provides people with a point of entry for more in-depth services they might have otherwise not sought out. And with anonymity guaranteed, it seeks to make the process of getting help simple enough for the most hesitant among us to work up the courage to reach out. Rather than speaking to a computer, users interact with a mental health professional who can truly empathise with them while also providing professional advice and guidance on a way forward.
“Feeling socially connected is a basic human need, and lack of it, can have serious implications on our mental health. This is exactly the type of positive social initiative, Epic is keen to partner with, providing the fastest connectivity to everyone and highlighting that a great network goes beyond the technology to bring about positive change to everyday interactions.” Said Karl Galea, Chief Marketing officer for Epic.
“The Foundation will always need resources to keep refining its operation and empower the people in its care, so we are grateful and excited about this partnership which aims to provide a direct and constant connection to those who are looking for some support. We are committed to help build communities’ and individuals’ ability to seek the support they need to stay mentally healthy and strong” Added Stephania Dimech Sant, CEO for The Richmond Foundation.