Isle Listen – helping many at a challenging time

Mandy and Gareth at home

Adaptability is vital for any organisation still operating throughout the pandemic, and one local mental health charity is embracing the challenges of lockdown with its trademark positive approach.

MCH Psychological Services continues to support people diagnosed with cancer and other life changing conditions through regular telephone or video calls with their counsellor or therapist.

Likewise, young people who have previously accessed services provided by the charity’s Isle Listen project can still engage with their mentors thanks to the wonders of technology, and that service has been temporarily expanded to include support for anybody struggling with lockdown who would like to talk to a trained listener.

Meanwhile, the Isle Listen training team have been working flat out to ensure their specialist skills can be helpful to as many people as possible, with the focus on prevention and early intervention.

Corporate training is usually an important funding stream for the charity but CEO Andrea Chambers and lead trainers Mandy Kinnell and Gareth Nicholson feel that now is a perfect opportunity to give something back to the community that has supported MCH for over 35 years and the Isle Listen project since its launch in 2019.

Andrea elaborated:” As a third sector organisation its imperative we do all we can to support people during these challenging times. Local employers and anybody else wishing to expand their mental health skill set can access a range of excellent resources for no charge at present, although donations are always welcome. The Board of Directors and I would like to pay tribute to our team for the way they have adapted over the past weeks. Isle Listen is a new initiative and the newly formed team have worked with endless enthusiasm in their changed circumstances to alter the remit of what we do, to ensure that we can continue to offer support and training.”

Mandy and Gareth are both well-known in the local business community, having delivered a range of Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace courses to many of the Island’s largest employers, including IOM Government departments. Building Resilience Strategies, Transitions, Adopting a Flexible Mindset and Supportive Listening are among the topics they cover.

Mandy explained: ”We’d already been exploring the use of technology as a way of being more flexible and reaching a wider audience but the current situation accelerated this to ensure we could still deliver the courses we have booked in the diary. We also wanted to make resources accessible to all, at a time when many people may like to understand more about their own emotional wellbeing and learn how best to support others, whether colleagues, family or friends.”

The engaging pair, with input from the rest of the Isle Listen team, have created a range of leaflets as well as a series of webinars covering a raft of relevant issues which can be tailored to suit a particular organisation’s requirements, and they’re keen to point out how flexible their training is.

Gareth said: “We’ve delivered training over the past five weeks to various businesses using different platforms including Zoom, Webex and BlueJeans. We are always open to discussion around means of delivery and content, so please do get in touch if we can be of help. As many international companies based on Island have accessed our webinars we’ve also trained people in the UK, South Africa and the Middle East. The topics are universal to all, regardless of nationality or jurisdiction.”

The Isle Listen team are justifiably proud of their resilience and adaptability and say that knowing their hard work is helping so many at a challenging time makes it all the more worthwhile.

For more information please email

If you feel you may benefit from one-to-one support please email

If you’re in crisis call your GP or the Crisis Team on 642860.

If you need urgent help call 999.