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Samaritans Volunteer here - feel free to ask me anything volunteering. Watch

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    Feel free to ask me anything about volunteering and I'll see if I can answer.
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    I'm interested in volunteering for Samaritans if you can please could you help me with these questions:

    1. How old do you have to be?
    2. I know it's volunteering, but is there a selection process or can anyone get in? If there is whats the process?
    3. What training is involved?
    4. What's a typical shift like?
    5. Are you expected to work evenings/weekends (as this can sometimes be difficult for me)?

    thank you!
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    Thanks that's a great help have you found it a positive experience overall? Do you tend to be rushed off your feet?
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    There is a samaritians email service.

    1. How old do you have to be to volunteer to do that ? ?

    2. Is it just email or would you have to do something else along side it such as the phone call thing for example. ? ?
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    I've looked into it before! You've triggered me to go and look into it again, thanks.
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    What types of things do you say to people? Are you more there in a listening role, or do you have to give advice as well? Are you ever stuck for something to say? Do you ever find the calls awkward? (I find phone calls awkward in general, so possibly it's only me that would worry about that).

    I would very very much like to train and volunteer, but I need to know I'd be good for the role first!

    Also, on a side note, do you get many prank calls at all? How much of a problem is that?
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    (Original post by Muffled Snuffles)
    Advice is a big no-no. It's a listening service. A lot of people think they want advice but really, we're not equipped to offer advice on the lives of others because we believe other people have the tools and experience and information to make their own decisions. In the course of discussion, they can come to their own solutions. We do 'signpost' other organisations (debt advice, CAB, domestic violence etc) if the caller wants more information on them or if we feel it's appropriate to recommend them. We can also indirectly 'advise' them. Instead of saying 'you should go to your GP' (which is advice and in a lot of situations can be a bad assumption to make), we ask 'what did your GP say about this?' or 'have you been to your GP about this?'. But it's primarily a place where an individual can talk to someone about his/her feelings. A lot of individuals have no one to turn to in order to talk or even vent.

    As for the things we say, the questions we ask come down to making the person open up more about their feelings (how are they feeling), what has happened and what their options are so it really depends on what's being said to you. The key is giving them a safe environment to talk about their feelings and get to the core of their problems.


    I worried about being stuck before I started but you always do find things to say given it's very question driven. Questions are always open-ended so 90% of the conversation is them talking. And silences are very different to every day conversations. We were taught from the get go that we shouldn't try and always fill silences because a lot of the time, the caller will want to just take some time to try and compose his thoughts. And even if you do get stuck, you can always clarify something they have said or reflect certain things back to them. It's never really a problem.

    Prank calls aren't a problem, I'd say. The main problem tends to be sex calls or abusive callers. But you are very well prepared on how to identify and handle them and they are no real problem.

    I would recommend giving it a try. You can leave at the training stage, your first shift, whenever - if you don't feel like it appeals to you. I was very uncomfortable about starting and contemplated leaving before I even started. But I got into the role and there's a lot of support and it can be very rewarding. :yep:
    Thank you so much for taking the time to type this. It was incredibly helpful, and has got rid of the main worries I had about it. I will look into training in my area .
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    (Original post by Muffled Snuffles)
    Yes, overall, I have indeed. It's been positive in both meeting new and getting on with new friends and in helping others (that sounds clichéd) but it's a great feeling if you have sat on the phone for an hour with someone and they end the call by thanking you and telling you that what you have said has really helped (even though they have done most of the talking and you have simply just asked questions). It also opens you to some of the things others go through.

    Could you clarify what you mean by being rushed off my feet?



    Still 18. It's not really a separate thing. The duties of a Listener include the phone calls, emails, SMS and face to face sessions. The Samaritans email service works alongside the phone call service. As a listener on a duty, you will be doing phone calls as the primary function. And if there are no phone calls at any one moment, you can also log onto the computers and do some emails and SMS with the other volunteer.



    Advice is a big no-no. It's a listening service. A lot of people think they want advice but really, we're not equipped to offer advice on the lives of others because we believe other people have the tools and experience and information to make their own decisions. In the course of discussion, they can come to their own solutions. We do 'signpost' other organisations (debt advice, CAB, domestic violence etc) if the caller wants more information on them or if we feel it's appropriate to recommend them. We can also indirectly 'advise' them. Instead of saying 'you should go to your GP' (which is advice and in a lot of situations can be a bad assumption to make), we ask 'what did your GP say about this?' or 'have you been to your GP about this?'. But it's primarily a place where an individual can talk to someone about his/her feelings. A lot of individuals have no one to turn to in order to talk or even vent.

    As for the things we say, the questions we ask come down to making the person open up more about their feelings (how are they feeling), what has happened and what their options are so it really depends on what's being said to you. The key is giving them a safe environment to talk about their feelings and get to the core of their problems.


    I worried about being stuck before I started but you always do find things to say given it's very question driven. Questions are always open-ended so 90% of the conversation is them talking. And silences are very different to every day conversations. We were taught from the get go that we shouldn't try and always fill silences because a lot of the time, the caller will want to just take some time to try and compose his thoughts. And even if you do get stuck, you can always clarify something they have said or reflect certain things back to them. It's never really a problem.

    Prank calls aren't a problem, I'd say. The main problem tends to be sex calls or abusive callers. But you are very well prepared on how to identify and handle them and they are no real problem.

    I would recommend giving it a try. You can leave at the training stage, your first shift, whenever - if you don't feel like it appeals to you. I was very uncomfortable about starting and contemplated leaving before I even started. But I got into the role and there's a lot of support and it can be very rewarding. :yep:
    That's really helpful! What I mean by rushed off your feet is it is a stressful busy atmosphere or do you feel you have enough time to do the things you need to?

    another thing is I'm about to turn 18 in a couple of months so ill have to wait until then....but one thing I'd worry about is are people going to want to accept support from an 18 year old? I think especially for face to face support as I can look even younger than my age it might make people uncomfortable?
 
 
 
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