Karl Galea

Epic Communications Ltd Chief Marketing Officer Karl Galea has highlighted the importance of communication and social connectivity, especially when it comes to mental health.

This comes after Olli.Chat, an online chat service created by Richmond Foundation as part of a two-year partnership with Epic, was named among six international finalists in the upcoming European Social Services Awards’ (ESSA) technology tools category. The category recognises technological and digital improvements that enable social services to improve their accessibility, usability by professionals and people using the services, and also their availability for those in need.

“Feeling socially connected is a basic human need, and lack of it can have serious implications on our mental health,” Mr Galea said.

“This is exactly the type of positive social initiative Epic is keen to partner with, providing the fastest connectivity to everyone and highlighting that a great network goes beyond the technology to bring about positive change to everyday interactions,” he added.

Olli.Chat has been nominated for its contribution to Maltese society, as over 2,500 people, both in Malta and abroad, have turned to it since its launch a year ago.

The service, which can be accessed through any web browser, allows users to initiate a chat about anything to receive emotional and practical guidance to help them find a way forward, all while using an alias.

Epic Chief Marketing Officer Karl Galea (left) and Richmond Foundation CEO Stephania Dimech Sant (right)

Richmond Foundation CEO Stephania Dimech Sant explained that the foundation will “always need resources to keep refining its operation and empower the people in its care,” before expressing gratitude and excitement about the partnership which “aims to provide a direct and constant connection to those who are looking for some support”.

“We are committed to helping build communities’ and individuals’ abilities to seek the support they need to stay mentally health and strong,” she concluded.

The platform seeks to address the growing concern among mental health professionals about younger people, who tend to be uncomfortable seeking mental health assistance, both in person and via telephone. This demographic is underrepresented among those seeking help through traditional means, even though surveys have indicated that youths report experiencing negative emotions and depressive feelings just as often as older citizens. Olli.Chat features in-person support when required and works with other local mental health providers to offer a “holistic and effective service”.

Olli.Chat’s nomination for the ESSA is “further proof” of the “excellent service being offered”. These awards are the only European awards which aim to recognise the excellent work and achievements in the field of positive social impact across Europe, while also shining a spotlight on successful new approaches and the extraordinary ongoing work done by public social services managers, funders, planners, providers, and deliverers of social services.

Since large parts of our lives have shifted to online, Epic has sought to leverage its technologies to bring about “impactful change” by linking those in need to Richmond Foundation’s team of professionals. This online service allows people to have a point of entry for more in-depth services they might have otherwise not sought out, especially with anonymity guaranteed.

Epic Communications Ltd is one of the largest telecommunication providers in Malta, focusing on integrated mobile and fixed telephony, internet, and specialised ICT business solutions. It has over 300 professionals employed across its network of sales points.

Richmond Foundation was set up in 1993 to give more support towards individuals with mental health problems. Since then, the foundation has continued to offer its services to “hundreds of people with mental health problems and their loved ones” every year, with these including support groups, assisted living and psychological support services, among others.

Featured Image:

Epic Chief Marketing Officer Karl Galea / LinkedIn

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