SPOC, your Single Point Of Contact

That first call to us is vital.

Mick Henshaw is in the award-winning team that answers your calls to Horizons. On average, 23,000 a year. Here, he speaks about being that voice on the end of the line.

“The single point of contact is very important. That initial call can be vital to get people into treatment. It’s about breaking down those barriers.

“It can be very full on – no call is the same – you can get people phoning up wanting to know appointment times, you can get people wanting to know prescription queries, you can get people phoning up in crisis, you can get professionals, you can get referrals.

“So every call is different and every client is different. It involves signposting – we have got to have all the knowledge of what’s going on in the community and we have to keep that constantly updated in our minds.

“We keep each other going. You have got your team there to back you up and support you.

“I’ve come off the phone myself feeling really emotional because you can empathise with the client or the family member that’s phoned up.

“Sometimes you have to just go for a little walk and get a bit of fresh air and gather yourself back together so you don’t take it into the next call. I mean I’ve had clients that are really distraught that are swearing at me as well.

“At the end of the day, you can’t take anything personally on the phone, you have got to remember where those clients are. We’re working with vulnerable people.

“I have a lot to do with all the outside agencies as well and obviously in the SPOC we all keep each other informed – and we’re updated by our managers in meetings and with emails. I do a lot of research myself – looking online as to what’s available and speaking to other agencies face to face.”

SPOC worker Mick says: “I’m in recovery myself – I’ve been abstinent now for five years and I can understand what people are going through.

“I want to give back and help others. I’m carrying a message of recovery and I want to give people hope.

“You get a lot of people coming on the phone who are really in tears and very emotional and you have to talk to them and explain to them and I have shared my knowledge and life experiences and it does give them hope.”

“It gives me a purpose and a goal that I’m able to help others.”

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