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By Jo Ward

There is no need to suffer in silence, but sometimes it can be more comfortable or easier to chat with someone online rather than over the telephone. GibSams has recently launched a live web chat service where a trained Listener will be available to talk and respond to messages in real time, no matter what the problem or what a caller is going through.

The new web chat service was soft launched on the 1st June with the aim being that once all the volunteers have completed their training, the chat service will be available from 6pm to midnight, 7 days a week, operating in the same way as the telephone hotline.

The chats are completely untraceable and confidential. Once a chat has finished and the Listener has logged out, any message is deleted automatically and any pages from the GibSams website that have been visited can be deleted from browser history. It is also possible to delete cookies and clear web chat permissions which show that someone has been on the web chat website, or to open a ‘private browsing’ window, which won’t show up in the browser history.

The chats are completely untraceable and confidential.

It doesn’t matter about spelling, punctuation or how people express themselves, they won’t be judged.

To access the chat, you need to go to the GibSams website where a ‘Chat Now’ box will be highlighted in green when a Listener is available. If no Listener is available at that moment, it will appear in red.

An automatic message will appear: ‘Thank you for contacting us. Our Listeners know you are waiting and will attend to you shortly. If you need to speak with someone urgently please call 116 123, once a Listener is free you will be connected to the chat’.

Once the chat has started, a Listener will help talk through any concerns, worries and troubles, focusing on thoughts and feelings by asking questions to help explore how the person feels. Listeners won’t make decisions, their advice and opinions are not important for the chat.

Whatever someone is going through, a Listener will face it with them; they don’t have to be suicidal to get in touch. There is always someone out there ready to listen, whether by a free phone call on 116 123 between 6pm and midnight, 7 days a week, or via the online chat box which can be found at gibsams.gi or on the GibAPP.

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