HelpHub on Independent’s Annual ‘Happy List’

The founder of a local online emotional support service for people affected by the coronavirus has been included in The Independent newspaper’s annual ‘Happy List’.

The HelpHub was set up by Woodstock psychotherapist Ruth Chaloner in April this year with the website being built and hosted for free by our Innovation Team

Originally Ruth’s intention was to support people who were on a waiting list for NHS mental health support or couldn’t afford private therapy, but when the Covid-19 crisis started she rapidly adapted the service to provide free emotional support for people suffering during the pandemic.

Through the HelpHub website people book a 20-minute appointments to speak to one of over 800 therapists, all of whom are volunteering their time and expertise.

“It’s absolutely fantastic we have been featured in the Independent’s ‘Happy List’,” said Ruth.

“The feedback we are receiving from people who have used the service is incredibly positive. Hopefully this recognition will raise awareness of this free resource and we can help many more people,” said Ruth.

“Although restrictions are being lifted, there is still a great deal of uncertainty and the economic context is likely to be difficult for months ahead, with businesses closing and higher rates of unemployment.

“As the only free service available across the UK, we are determined to ensure that the HelpHub can continue to help as many people as possible.

“We are already looking ahead to how we could meet the demand, by increasing the number of therapists on our platform and by engaging trainees who are close to qualifying as therapists – particularly for the future,” she added.

Founded in 2008 as an antidote to awards that honour wealth or celebrity status, the Happy List acknowledges people doing extraordinary things to help others. 

For the first time this year’s awards focused entirely on the actions undertaken by people in response to one specific crisis.

Christian Broughton, editor of The Independent, said: “In this time of extraordinary turmoil, extraordinary characters have stepped up to make a difference.

“This year’s Happy List is devoted entirely to exactly these people – from carers who have risked their lives to save others, to fundraisers who have brought hope and comfort,” he added.

Earlier this year Ruth’s work was also officially recognised by the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community.

Visit the Health Hub website to find out more.