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CHS News & Events

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CHS Helpline Article from AMCHAM Connect Magazine Oct 2018

CHS Helpline Article from AMCHAM Connect Magazine Oct 2018
Belgium’s English-speaking Helplineby Geoff Brown, Chairman of Community Help Service (CHS)Volunteers on the Community Help Service’s English-speaking Helpline have been providing information and support to the Belgian international community for more than 45 years. You or someone you know may need support from the CHS Helpline, but CHS now also needs your support.Maybe you know someone who needs CHS but CHS now also needs you…Is there something bothering you or not quite right in your life? Are you concerned about a member of your own family, or a friend, neighbor or colleague? Maybe the issue is clear, maybe not - some people find it difficult to open up and talk about personal problems, even with those close to them.While many people avail of exciting opportunities and enjoy life, others struggle due to problems at work or with personal relationships, alcohol or drug addiction, depression or loneliness, culture shock or bereavement. Unfortunately, the WHO reports that more than one in four people in Europe between the ages of 18 and 65 experience mental health issues.It may therefore be a great relief to know that there is a number to call in Belgium where, anonymously and confidentially, whatever the problem, without charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, someone is available who speaks English and who will listen sympathetically and provide emotional support or helpful information.This Community Help Service (CHS) Helpline can be reached on 02 648 40 14. Please add this number to your contacts and pass it on.For more than 45 years, CHS, a Belgian non-profit organization, has been providing help and support to people in Belgium who find it easier to express themselves in English, regardless of their nationality and circumstances.It also runs the CHS Mental Health Services Centre (at Avenue des Phalènes/ Nachtvlinderslaan 26, 1000 Brussels) for children, adolescents, adults and families, and works closely with international schools, providing psycho-educational assessments for children experiencing learning difficulties. The Centre is virtually self-financing, thanks to financial contributions from the therapists working with CHS.Our Helpline, however, with annual operating costs of more than €30,000, relies entirely on external funding. Unlike the French, Dutch and German-speaking Helplines, CHS does not receive any subsidy from the Belgian authorities. Helpline-related income principally comes from an annual CHS calendar, website advertising, contributions from community associations and fund-raising events.In order to cover the Helpline costs, CHS is urgently looking for 20 or more companies in Belgium each willing to annually donate say €1,000. We are making a direct appeal to AmCham companies able to make a relatively small but highly significant donation that may directly affect the wellbeing of not only their own employees but also many other people working and living in Belgium’s international community.In 2016, the well-respected King Baudouin Foundation (KBF) in Belgium (www.kbs-frb.be/en) set up a 'Friends of Community Help Service Fund' within KBF whereby corporate and individual donors can make tax-efficient donations specifically to support financing of the CHS Helpline. In Belgium, the related tax benefit is 45%, i.e. €450 for each €1,000 donated.KBF in the United States (KBF US www.kbfus.org) also has a ‘Community Help Service ASBL (BE)’ Fund for the same purpose. In the US, since KBF US is a public charity, within the meaning of Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) of the IRC, donors may claim the maximum tax benefits allowed by U.S. tax law for their contributions.It has been agreed with KBF that any surplus funds raised above the Helpline operating costs will only be spent promoting the Helpline, e.g. in the Brussels public transport system.Companies or foundations donating €1,000 or more via KBF Belgium or $1,000 or more via KBF US will be thanked individually on our website.Comprehensive information about CHS, its services, how to donate and volunteering can be found on the CHS website: www.chsbelgium.org. Alternatively, you may contact me directly: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. thanks for your support.
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Is work too important in your life?

Is work too important in your life?Mental health in the work place is the theme for mental health day 2017. But what is mental health in the work place about? We know that much more could be done to improve mental health by management. They should appreciate the limitations of their staff, understand the importance of a work/life balance, regularly express recognition and acknowledgement, invest in structures to improve adequate support, prevent bullying, etc, etc. But what about the employee? What can he do to improve his own mental well-being at the workplace? We work about 8 hours a day, which comes close to a staggering 1/3 of our lives. Work looms large; nothing preoccupies our lives more, so people take it seriously, and for a good reason. We spend more hours working than we spend with our families or sleeping. The hours of dedication and sacrifices that demands the majority of our awaken life have to be meaningful to us and hence job titles have come to define who we are. Work is no longer just something we do to maintain our lives and put bread on the table. It can’t be easily separated from the rest of our life. Our personal identities have to a large extent become defined by our careers.The demands and challenges of work are never ending. It can be intriguing and exhausting. There is competition and the reality is that only a few people will keep advancing. Then there is failure or – fear of failure. What do you do if that sense of inadequacy sneaks in? Devote more time to work, or find meaning and pleasure elsewhere? The majority of people do have a broad identity consisting of various elements like: mother, runner, wife, political activist, singer, etc. But an increasing number only have one identity: their profession. It often starts out passionately and rewarding, but there is a risk that work develops into a compulsion that eventually takes hold of our lives.When your job defines you, your world becomes narrow. When your job defines who you are, everything that happens at work becomes personal. The more we define ourselves through our work and derive our identity from it, the higher the risk of mental health problems, when work falls short of our own expectations. When we can distinguish who we are from what we do, we become less vulnerable. If a colleague or a customer is unhappy with our performance at work, we should be aware that he is questioning our work role rather than us as people, which then makes it easier for us to handle the situation in a professional way.A healthy work-life balance is possible when we recognize and address our compulsion and understand that we exist in a larger context. Think about how you want to be remembered when you’re no longer here? By your resumé or by the strong and meaningful relations you developed by spending time with people, who mattered to you? Meaningful relationships and engaging activities are important. Redefining achievements and accomplishments can be necessary. It is therefore of utmost importance that we know who we are outside work and that we derive pride and pleasure from that. The more we are aware of the fact that we are not our job, the lower is our potential for stress and our risk for burnout; the more enjoyable is our collaboration with others, and not only does our life improve, but so does our performance at work. In brief: while managers are still accountable for mental health in the workplace, the employees may equally contribute to their own mental health by not placing too much importance on work!Community Help Service (CHS) offers a crucial service to the English-speaking community in Belgium. Trained volunteers who have been carefully chosen for their empathetic and listening skills are operating an anonymous and confidential Helpline. They listen without judgement, which can be useful when going through a process of understanding and defining who you are – not just what you do – and helping you to survive the ups and downs of working life.CHS Helpline: 02 648 4014Lise Skinnebach, Clinical Psychologist & Helpline Supervisor
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Community Help Service World Mental Health Day 10th October 2017

Dear Friends of CHSWe will be marking World Mental Health Day on Tuesday October 10th and thought you might like to join us! This can be done from the comfort of your office or home as the action will be taking place online. The links are provided below.Throughout the day we will regularly be posting on our website and social media in order to raise general awareness about mental health. We will especially be highlighting ‘Mental Health at Work’ as this is this year's theme. We will also describe in depth what the Community Help Service do on a daily basis. Expect articles, testimonials, therapy explanations, staff introductions, upcoming events announcements, vacancies at CHS and much more!We wish you a peaceful World Mental Health Day and hope that you join us online!Best Regards,//The CHS TeamCommunity Help Service asblAvenue des Phalènes 26, Nachtvinderslaan 261000 Brussels02-647678024hr Helpline 02-6484014CHS websitehttp://www.chsbelgium.org/en/CHS facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/CHSBelgium/CHS twitterhttps://twitter.com/CHSBelgiumAs you may already know our 24/7 Helpline relies 100% on external funding. Please consider:- Making a tax-efficient donation via the King Baudouin Foundation in Belgium or the US- buying our 2018 Calendar, 10 euros.Volunteer, Sponsor or Donate!http://www.chsbelgium.org/en/index.php/how-you-can-help/sponsorBuy our 2018 Calendar!http://www.chsbelgium.org/en/index.php/how-you-can-help/buy-our-calendar
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Last Chance to Register- Expat Financial Affairs 2017

The British Chamber of Commerce is hosting another great expat event; the annual Expat Financial Affairs event offers essential advice in English on managing your finances as an expat living in Belgium. Get direct access to our trusted expert partners, mingle with fellow expats over food and drinks, and learn more from our short and informative pre...
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ING - Expat Real Estate Workshop 5th October 2017

On Thursday, the 5th of October 2017, at 5:30 pm, get your questions answered about real estate in Belgium; purchase process, taxation, financing, insurance.Register for this event at https://promo.ing.be/ExpatConference/?LANG=EN CHS will also be there to provide information and answer questions about the services we offer in support of our international community.
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