If your child is having trouble and needs to speak to someone then who do they turn to? Some may be able to turn to their friends or family for support but sometimes they may need to speak to someone else in confidence, someone who can offer help that their family or friends can’t. This is where Meic can help.
What is Meic?
Meic is a free and confidential helpline for children and young people in Wales and it’s a service that all children in Wales should be aware of. Their ‘Someone on your side’ tagline says it all.
You may have seen Meic leaflets or posters in GP surgery’s, waiting rooms or other places, but have you ever looked into it more to know exactly what Meic can do for your children? What do they do? Who can they help? Read on and we’ll explain, in the hope that you’ll pass on this information to the children and young people you know.
Meic is a helpline funded by the Welsh Government. It provides advice, information and advocacy for all children and young people in Wales up to the age of 25. The helpline has friendly, trained advisor advocates (see ‘What is advocacy?’ below) on the other side of the line ready to help with any problem.
There’s no problem too big, no problem too small
The service can provide advice and information on a number of topics, from finding out about activities in your local area to looking at ways to cope with bullying. It’s an accessible service open 16 hours a day, 7 days a week (including public holidays) that can be contacted in a number of different ways.
What is advocacy?
While Meic provides information and advice to young people its unique feature is that it is also an advocacy service. For the non Welsh Speakers out there ‘Meic’ is short for ‘meicroffon’ which is the Welsh for ‘microphone’ and this highlights the advocacy side of the service. They describe advocacy to young people by saying, “we can be your microphone to make sure your voice and opinion is heard on situations that effect you”.
Adviser Advocates use a coaching approach on the helpline to encourage young people to self-advocate when dealing with their problems. They want to empower young people and give them confidence to make their own decisions and explore their rights. But if self-advocacy is not possible then the helpline advisers will use their special knowledge to signpost young people and third parties to services that can help in their area.
How to get in touch?
Meic can be contacted in lots of different ways. Children and young people can call free on 080880 23456, text on 84001 or send instant messages on www.meic.cymru. You can also keep up to date with them on Facebook and Twitter. They are open 8am to midnight, 7 days a week.
This is a bilingual service so you can speak Welsh or English. They also have this great system which lets the advisers put you through to another service but they can stay on the line if the child or young person needs help to explain themselves or for support when contacting other services, this is called three way call handling and call transfers.
While the service is confidential there are some exceptions to this rule. If a Meic adviser has any concerns that a young person is at risk of harm then they have to share this information through close links with the Police and Social Services.
You can also contact Meic as an adult if you have concerns or want to ask something on behalf of a child or young person.
So now that you know more about the service, why not tell the children and young people that you know all about it? Tell them that there is ‘Someone on their side’ and pass on the contact details so that they can get in touch when they need help.
Family Point Helpline
If you feel you need to talk to someone about this issue or any other problems your family is having then call our advisors on the FamilyPoint Cymru helpline. The helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They can help you to find organisations that can help.