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    Out of Samaritans and St John Ambulance, which one gives you more useful skills and which one gives you more satisfaction and a sense that you've helped someone? Which one is more enjoyable too? Does anyone have experience with either or both?
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    (Original post by Ybsy75)
    Out of Samaritans and St John Ambulance, which one gives you more useful skills and which one gives you more satisfaction and a sense that you've helped someone? Which one is more enjoyable too? Does anyone have experience with either or both?
    Really it depends on your age, previous experience and what you're hoping to get out of it. Both are very different organisations but both will help you to develop useful skills. In any sort of health volunteering role you need to be prepared for days where you don't get any sort of feelings of satisfaction and there will be times where things go wrong.

    I certainly wouldn't recommend Samaritans to anyone under 21 and would be wary recommending it to those with no experience of mental health. Samaritans do fantastic work but there is a long recruitment and training process and the situations you're in can be very difficult to deal with. You don't advise people, so can only listen and encourage them to talk, and there is therefore a chance that you will hear disturbing things. There is a lot of training and support, but is very heavy work stress-wise and not ideal if you're quite sensitive. I would be wary of starting it if you're sitting exams etc.

    St John's are quite accessible to all ages with any experience so are probably the one I would be more likely to recommend. You can also be quite practical in what you do, I would highly recommend the events volunteering as it really is great fun and you're getting to deliver proper first aid. Again, you run the risk of seeing blood, gory injuries and occasionally very ill people who may not recover. Red Cross also have very similar volunteering opportunities so it might be worth looking into them too.
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    (Original post by Charlotte49)
    Really it depends on your age, previous experience and what you're hoping to get out of it. Both are very different organisations but both will help you to develop useful skills. In any sort of health volunteering role you need to be prepared for days where you don't get any sort of feelings of satisfaction and there will be times where things go wrong.

    I certainly wouldn't recommend Samaritans to anyone under 21 and would be wary recommending it to those with no experience of mental health. Samaritans do fantastic work but there is a long recruitment and training process and the situations you're in can be very difficult to deal with. You don't advise people, so can only listen and encourage them to talk, and there is therefore a chance that you will hear disturbing things. There is a lot of training and support, but is very heavy work stress-wise and not ideal if you're quite sensitive. I would be wary of starting it if you're sitting exams etc.

    St John's are quite accessible to all ages with any experience so are probably the one I would be more likely to recommend. You can also be quite practical in what you do, I would highly recommend the events volunteering as it really is great fun and you're getting to deliver proper first aid. Again, you run the risk of seeing blood, gory injuries and occasionally very ill people who may not recover. Red Cross also have very similar volunteering opportunities so it might be worth looking into them too.
    Thank you. That's really helpful. I've actually done some mental health volunteering before but more on the projects side. But I want to get into the services side, hence I'm looking at Samaritans and St. John. Although, St. John is less mental health, it's still healthcare related, which is something I'm interested in. Do you know if you can also get mental health training and do mental health work with St. John? And what would you say makes st John more accessible, fun and practical? And also which one would you say requires more time commitment?
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    (Original post by Ybsy75)
    Thank you. That's really helpful. I've actually done some mental health volunteering before but more on the projects side. But I want to get into the services side, hence I'm looking at Samaritans and St. John. Although, St. John is less mental health, it's still healthcare related, which is something I'm interested in. Do you know if you can also get mental health training and do mental health work with St. John? And what would you say makes st John more accessible, fun and practical? And also which one would you say requires more time commitment?
    St Johns is focused on first aid and doesn't offer mental health training and doesn't work specifically with people with mental health problems. St John is more provision of first aid at events and training others in first aid. You can, however, take a suicide first aid course although this is nothing to do with St John's, it's called ASIST, you might find it interesting.

    With Samaritans you are spending a lot of time training, doing group exercises and when you qualify, at the phone (although walk-ins are accepted). You're not having much face-to-face interaction with the people you're helping and you are listening, rather than giving advice so this is less practical than, for example, cleaning a wound, reassuring someone and putting a dressing on it. It really depends what you're interested in. There is a lot of info on their websites about the actual role and what you'll spend your time doing which there's no point repeating as they're very thorough.

    Both have time commitment information on their websites but as with all voluntary arrangements you would need to discuss your flexibility with the manager. Samaritans is more structured, they look for at least a year's commitment and shifts once or twice a week. I would recommend contacting the local volunteer coordinator and discussing with them what you actually want to get out of your volunteering and then decide which can better meet your needs.
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    (Original post by Charlotte49)
    St Johns is focused on first aid and doesn't offer mental health training and doesn't work specifically with people with mental health problems. St John is more provision of first aid at events and training others in first aid. You can, however, take a suicide first aid course although this is nothing to do with St John's, it's called ASIST, you might find it interesting.

    With Samaritans you are spending a lot of time training, doing group exercises and when you qualify, at the phone (although walk-ins are accepted). You're not having much face-to-face interaction with the people you're helping and you are listening, rather than giving advice so this is less practical than, for example, cleaning a wound, reassuring someone and putting a dressing on it. It really depends what you're interested in. There is a lot of info on their websites about the actual role and what you'll spend your time doing which there's no point repeating as they're very thorough.

    Both have time commitment information on their websites but as with all voluntary arrangements you would need to discuss your flexibility with the manager. Samaritans is more structured, they look for at least a year's commitment and shifts once or twice a week. I would recommend contacting the local volunteer coordinator and discussing with them what you actually want to get out of your volunteering and then decide which can better meet your needs.
    Thank you so much for your advice. I was able to visit a local Samaritans branch and find out more about what they do but I'm having trouble doing the same for my local St. John ambulance unit. They only have a national contact who aren't very responsive.
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    (Original post by Ybsy75)
    Thank you so much for your advice. I was able to visit a local Samaritans branch and find out more about what they do but I'm having trouble doing the same for my local St. John ambulance unit. They only have a national contact who aren't very responsive.
    That's good that you've managed to visit. You could try phoning up the numbers on the right hand side of this page (linked below) and seeing if they can give you local contact details to get some more information or maybe visit. I believe you need to apply online for SJA volunteering posts and it's done through a central recruitment process so does take some time (but still probably less than Samaritans in the long run!). Might be worth putting an application in sooner rather than later then at least it's being considered.

    https://www.sja.org.uk/sja/contact-us.aspx
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    (Original post by Charlotte49)
    That's good that you've managed to visit. You could try phoning up the numbers on the right hand side of this page (linked below) and seeing if they can give you local contact details to get some more information or maybe visit. I believe you need to apply online for SJA volunteering posts and it's done through a central recruitment process so does take some time (but still probably less than Samaritans in the long run!). Might be worth putting an application in sooner rather than later then at least it's being considered.

    https://www.sja.org.uk/sja/contact-us.aspx
    Thank you so much, you've been really helpful. One more question, sorry to be persistent, do you know what the age range of volunteers are in St. John? Because in many volunteer groups in the past, I've found many are all 50+ and I'm the only young volunteer.
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    (Original post by Ybsy75)
    Thank you so much, you've been really helpful. One more question, sorry to be persistent, do you know what the age range of volunteers are in St. John? Because in many volunteer groups in the past, I've found many are all 50+ and I'm the only young volunteer.
    Sorry, I couldn't give you an accurate answer as I don't know the age range of all the SJA groups, and the one I worked with was years ago so membership has probably changed, but I expect it varies. More of the long term volunteers are likely to be older. You would need to contact your local group and ask them if this is an issue for you.
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    (Original post by Charlotte49)
    Sorry, I couldn't give you an accurate answer as I don't know the age range of all the SJA groups, and the one I worked with was years ago so membership has probably changed, but I expect it varies. More of the long term volunteers are likely to be older. You would need to contact your local group and ask them if this is an issue for you.
    No problem. I assume that both are good for learning about people, communities and life. And that both are good for learning to deal with vulnerable people and patients, for a future career in healthcare.
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    Btw, which is better for continuing development and training?
 
 
 
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