by 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.
Many thanks for your support.