New listening service

The AOP is seeking volunteers for a confidential Peer Support Line


A confidential support service will offer help to practitioners and students who are suffering from stress or anxiety.

The AOP is recruiting volunteers for the organisation’s new Peer Support Line, which will provide a listening service for qualified optometrists, dispensing opticians and students.

Callers will have the chance to talk anonymously and in confidence to a fellow optical professional about stress they are facing at work or in their home life.

AOP chief executive, Henrietta Alderman, highlighted to OT that the new service was designed specifically for the profession.

The AOP had recognised a need for a support service for people who were struggling with worries that fell outside of established legal, clinical and regulatory advice services, Ms Alderman explained.

“We are launching the AOP Peer Support Line to bridge that gap between the practical advice in our current offering, and emotional support needed for more personal and sensitive situations,” she added.

Volunteers would have a unique opportunity to take an active role in shaping the support network and contributing to the wellbeing of their peers, Ms Alderman emphasised.

The AOP is looking for optometrists and dispensing opticians, at a range of levels, who are able to commit to two days volunteering each month.

Chair of the Peer Support Line, Thurka Sivapalan, emphasised that stress could have a profound effect on someone’s day-to-day life.

“Having access to a service like this, to talk through issues, can be an absolute lifeline,” she added.

The service will be launched in early summer.

More information about the volunteer position is available on the AOP website or by contacting Malla Hussain, of the AOP Volunteer Recruitment Team, on 0207 549 2045.