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As of 1 January 2023, Heart2Heart launched an English-speaking hotline throughout Switzerland. This is a new branch of the emergency service for telephone number 143: La Main Tendue. Tel 143 is one of the best-known contact points for emotional first aid in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein and offers empathetic conversations with trained listeners. This service is free of charge, anonymous, and confidential.

Matthias Herren explained to knowitall.ch, "At Heart2Heart no topic is too big or small – we are here to listen to people's concerns, support them in a crisis, or share their good news. We are pleased to have trained English-language volunteers over the last year to be able to try out this new section. All the other 3 official Swiss languages are represented but we felt it necessary to reach out to those that are more comfortable speaking in English, especially in times of turmoil."

From January 2023, the new English line will be called "Heart2Heart", and can be reached daily from 6pm to 11pm through the toll free number 0800 143 000. Those needing to talk about depression, relationship issues, sadness, mental distress, pandemic worries, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, exciting news of any sort, or any other subject where they need have someone listen, are welcome to call the hotline.

Please pass this information along to your friends, colleagues, and neighbors as there are many people who do not know this service is available.

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Sue Lake, notebynote, has become an institution among the International community who love musical concerts, events, and singalongs. Her friendly, open nature encourages everyone 'to give it a try' and to challenge themselves to excel and grow at whatever level they are.

Christmas Songs and Carols Sing-a-long
Sue writes, "As far as I know it's the only Christmas event in the area which is a 'sing-a-long' rather than a concert, where the audience join the songs. I started the event because I met so many people who missed the opportunities to sing Christmas songs and carols with other people. So I created a community event for all ages to come together to sing just for fun.

"Please put our annual notebynote Christmas sing-a-long in your diaries. Our previous virtual Christmas sing-a-longs were an enormous success and being able to be in person this year will be extra special."

notebynote's Christmas Songs and Carols Sing-a-long
Saurday, 10 December 2022
14h
Chéserex, VD
It is a free entrance event, no tickets and no advance registration required just turn up on the day. We do ask for donations to cover the costs of the event (renting the salle communale etc.) so we're not looking to make a profit, just to break even.

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When we heard about ESCA CancerSupport's new offerings, we caught up with them to find out more about the Work and Cancer coaching service and the heART Space.
 
Why did ESCA CS feel it was important to start Work and Cancer service?
The number of young people diagnosed with cancer is increasing and more and more people are confronted with the illness in their mid-career. The work place and the job can restore a sense of normality and stability, as well as contributing to financial independence. However, often cancer patients find working during treatments and/or returning to work after long-term sick leave, a struggle as they deal with cancer’s short- or longer-term side effects. With the continuous stigma surrounding cancer and illness in general, talking to managers, HR or colleagues can be difficult to manage. Experience shows that specialized support contributes significantly to reconciling work and cancer and reducing anxiety. 
 
Switzerland is home to many international companies with a workforce that may not always be able to access services in the national languages. Often people feel lonely and separated, outside of their native language environment, far from family and close support networks. In recent years, the requests ESCA CS have received around topics related to work and cancer have multiplied. 

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If you are a new parent and are struggling to find how to fit into this new position in your life, then maybe Rachel Colin-Jones can help you. Rachel has started a new company, Our Parenting Journeys, and tells knowitall.ch, "My goal is to combine an evidence-based approach to parenting support that one can trust, with individualised compassion and care. Whether parents are looking for someone to help guide and prepare them as they transition to parenthood, just need reassurance and support in their role as a parent or are facing a specific parenting challenge; my qualifications, professional and personal experience mean that I have a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips that I am able to use to equip and empower them, wherever they are on their individual parenting journey."

We asked her to let us know about her and the idea behind this venture.

What has been the inspiration?
When I arrived in Geneva 2 years ago, I personally realised how difficult it was raising children away from family support networks. For me, this was compounded by not being able to speak French and therefore finding it hard to navigate the system and access services. As I was here longer, I realised that this is in fact many peoples experience and story. I also discovered that there seemed to be a real service gap in parenting support accessible in English. Given my professional background I felt that I had skills and experience that could be used to close this gap.

In August 2021 I conducted a survey with approximately 100 expat families, with the aim of understanding parenting support needs in Geneva and the surrounding areas. The results of the survey were clear – parents felt a lack of accessible parenting support and wanted this service. This was the start of the year long process of creating ‘Our Parenting Journeys’. The services we now offer are based on what parents said they wanted in the survey and what I know from my professional experience to be useful for young families.

Ashley Oncolexic

Ashley showing the Oncolexic English-French phrasebook

What is World Cancer Day?
World Cancer Day is marked every year on 4th February. This global initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control aims to raise awareness of cancer and to promote its prevention, detection and treatment. With its “Close The Care Gap” theme, the 2022 World Cancer Day is focused on the need for equitable access to diagnosis, treatments, and care.

What is ESCA CS doing to #CloseTheCareGap?
At ESCA CancerSupport (ESCA CS) they believe that cancer care should not be restricted in any way, including by language, gender, age, available finances, ethnic background or culture. We are fortunate in having access to excellent healthcare in the Geneva region, however a cancer diagnosis and treatment can be difficult to cope with, and even more so in a foreign setting. ESCA CS was born out of the need for an English-language support group for those having difficulty expressing themselves in French. They offer emotional support, practical help, information resources, well-being activities and a welcoming community in English to anyone affected directly or indirectly by cancer.