General | 9 Jun 2019

Volunteering with the Samaritans

The Samaritans are urging students, parents and teachers to look after their mental health over the coming weeks during the exam season. (Read more here; https://www.samaritans.org/ireland/news/samaritans-urge-students-put-wellbeing-ahead-exam-results/)

Have you ever considered volunteering with Samaritans?

Giving some time to be a Samaritan means being there for people who desperately need someone. And that really matters.

Right now the Samaritans need volunteers more than ever. Find out how you can help.

Samaritans Ireland is looking for volunteers who can give up three hours a week to those most in need.

There are now 21 Samaritans branches across the country with over 1,800 active volunteers on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Samaritans are best known for the vital support given to callers on its 24-hour telephone service, but volunteers are also on hand to offer support by text messages, email and face-to-face in communities, festival, outreach events and in prisons.

Mary, a carer, began volunteering with Samaritans over 12 years ago.

“During my time with Samaritans I have learned so much. I’ve grown and developed as a person and the sense of satisfaction I get from knowing I was able to help and support someone is the best feeling,” she said.

“For me, Samaritans is a family and we offer each other help and support whenever we need it - whether we are dealing with something personal in our lives or with a challenging call. My experience of volunteering with Samaritans has been life-changing. It takes commitment and dedication, but you’ll be paid back a hundredfold.”

 Enda, an air traffic controller, has been volunteering since 2012.

“Anyone can be a Samaritan as long as you believe in what you’re doing and you’re willing to listen,” he said.

“Allowing someone the space to talk, and really listening to what they want to talk about, are skills I’ve tried to adhere to both on and off duty.

“What really drives me though are the callers and knowing that by being there to pick up the phone I may have given them a beacon of hope. No matter where you are in life, the need to be heard and the need for empathy are things that will be with us always.”

Ways you can help Samaritans

As a listening volunteer you’ll answer calls and messages from people who really need someone to talk to.

Does this sound like you?

  • You're interested in listening to people going through a tough time
  • You're open-minded and non judgemental
  • You're able to listen without telling people what to do

Help people at difficult times

Every six seconds someone contacts us. Every six seconds we can help someone turn their life around. As a listening volunteer you get the chance to make a real difference to someone’s future.

Get support every step of the way

You’ll receive full training to prepare you for the kinds of conversations you’ll have. And when you start out, you’ll have a mentor with you, to give you confidence you’re doing the right thing.

Learn to do something valuable

You’ll gain a range of new skills and the confidence to use them, including the ability to understand people and manage difficult conversations. Many employers value these kinds of skills.

What it’s like being a listening volunteer

  • It’s always different and always interesting – no two conversations are the same.
  • It feels like a privilege to have people confiding in you.
  • You’re never on your own, and there’s a fun, supportive atmosphere in our branches.
  • You can offer support on the phone, email or text.
  • You can take a break between conversations whenever you need to.
  • Spending a few hours helping other people can make you feel good about yourself.

There are lots of other things you could do to support the Samaritans – marketing our services, fundraising, organising events, providing IT support or helping out in one of our shops. It all depends what you want to do and what you’re good at.

Click here for more information on helping;

https://volunteer.samaritans.org/volunteer/listening-volunteer

Samaritans are required day and night - watch a video about the night volunteer campaign here;

Watch the video about https://youtu.be/hSW0BoCcP90

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