European Emergency calls: 112
Gendarmerie Nationale: 17
SAMU (Ambulance): 15
Anti-Poison Centre: Paris 01 40 05 48 48 (or check your local Yellow Pages – www.pagesjaunes.fr)
SOS Amitié (Paris): 01 42 96 26 26
SOS Help – Confidential listening line in English: 01 46 21 46 46
Moving to a new country can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. Moving to a new country where people speak a different language doesn’t make it any easier. Each daily task now requires a little more effort. Then when you’re ready to relax and socialise there’s the matter of meeting new people. At times, all this newness can be a little overwhelming.
Even after living here for a while, unique challenges will still arise. Luckily for English speakers in France there is SOS Help, the non-profit group whose purpose is to provide an empathetic ear to people experiencing these exact things. From 3 to 11 pm daily, anyone can call the line anonymously and talk about what’s on their mind – no matter how big or small – to a non-judgemental volunteer.
SOS listeners help by just doing that – listening. They don’t offer magic solutions but sometimes just talking about what’s bugging you can give you perspective and help solve the problem. Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone is all you need. SOS Help is manned by volunteer expats who have been through many of the same things as the callers. They know what it’s like to be new in a country and what it’s like just to want someone to talk to in English.
Since 1974, their trained listeners have been listening to callers in France. They know that simply hearing the voice of someone who understands what you’re going through can sometimes be the most helpful solution. The greatest relief is learning you not alone.
- Maybe you’re a student who is having a difficult time adjusting to the French university system.
- Maybe you relocated for your job and are having a hard time meeting anyone outside of work.
- Maybe you’re in a bi-lingual relationship and having communication problems due to the language or cultural barrier.
- Maybe you’re just alone with no-one to listen.
If you’re feeling worried, lonely, depressed or suicidal, you can call SOS Help 01 46 21 46 46 from 3 to 11 pm daily. www.soshelpline.org