Swiss mental health hotline now available in English

Swiss mental health hotline now available in English

As studies confirm that people in Switzerland are increasingly worried about the future, a new service has been launched to give English speakers in the alpine nation a chance to talk about their concerns. As of January 1, a national mental health charity, Dargebotene Hand, offers a "Heart2Heart" helpline which is entirely in English.

Mental and emotional helpline in Switzerland now available in English

According to Zentralplus, a newspaper based in Zug and Lucerne, Dargebotene Hand ("Offered Hand") now runs an English-speaking helpline for expats in Switzerland alongside their German, French and Italian services. Between 6pm and 11pm every day, English speakers in all Swiss cities and cantons are now able to call the new Heart2Heart helpline on 0800 143 000. 

The service is designed to offer “emotional first aid”, where people can use their mobile phones and landlines to call counsellors who will listen to any worries, problems and issues they may have - from not finding a job or coping with a loss in the family to being worried about the future or stressed about finances. In their words, “No topic is too big or small - we are here to listen to your concerns, support you in a crisis, and share your good news.”

New service launched to cater to English-speaking expats in Switzerland

Speaking to Zentralplus, Dargebotene Hand managing director Klaus Rütschi explained that it made sense to offer the helpline in English. He noted that in Canton Zug, English mother tongue speakers make up 13 percent of the population - overall, English speakers make up 6,1 percent of the total population of Switzerland.

Rütschi argued that even if expats learn German, French or Italian, emotions and subtext will often get lost in translation. "In order for you to be able to really go into depth during a consultation, both of you have to be very good at the same language in order to be able to read between the lines," he noted.

Record number of calls made to the helpline in 2022

Across all languages, Dargebotene Hand said that they received a record-breaking number of calls last year, with 20.000 calls recorded in central Switzerland alone. The organisation noted that global events like the war in Ukraine, inflation and the fear of war spreading were the most common topics on people’s minds. "The cases are not only increasing, but they are also becoming more complex," Rütschi explained.

“Everyone can do something to make things better for others. Be it to have a quick chat with someone, to smile at strangers - or to listen to someone else," Rütschi concluded. For more information about the service, and all the terms and conditions, please consult the official website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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