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Samaritans - any views?

(19 Posts)
Janni Sun 12-Aug-12 17:17:03

Hello, I'm not sure if this is the right place to post my question. I am thinking of training to be a Samaritan and I was wondering if anyone had any views to offer on the service they provide? Also, I have a choice of different branches to approach - Central London, Redbridge, Enfield and Barnet or Brent. I have no way of knowing what each of the branches is actually like to volunteer for and I have heard that the quality of work done by different branches can be very variable. I intend to go along to the different open days but I would be really grateful for any insights people can offer. Many thanks x

Janni Sun 12-Aug-12 17:37:30


boohoohooshouldhavewongold Sun 12-Aug-12 17:37:50

Hi Janni, I'm a Samaritan, it's a fantastic service and I know that they are actively looking for new volunteers at the moment. It's a really good idea to go to one of their information Eve's as it will give you a good idea as to whether it's for you or not. I don't want to say to much about the calls that come in although they are varied and yes, they are a lot of suicidal people ringing in and I think that's where many people struggle, as we are not they to give any advice but purely to listen which can be emotionally draining and upsetting if the person on the end of the line is in the process of suicide. However, it's incredibly rewarding, the teams that work there are fantastic, always they for you if a call has been difficult. It takes a long time and a lot of money to train a new volunteer, so they will want to make sure that the people they train are right so the interview process is very in depth.

Basically, pop along to an information evening and see if it's something you'd like to try for and then take it from there.

boohoohooshouldhavewongold Sun 12-Aug-12 17:39:18

Oops sorry, yes along with direct telephone conversations, we use email and SMS, letters and some outreach work. Each branch differs tho, so I'm not sure what the branches near you do.

amillionyears Sun 12-Aug-12 17:55:33

First of all I dont want to put you off.You may well be very well suited to it.
I looked into it a few years ago,and had a look round etc.
I personally found it was not for me.I am a try and find out what the problem is sort of person,and then try and fix it person.
As I understood it then,and it is probably the same now,dont know for sure,it is a listening service.Which I would have found frustatrating,not being able to try and analyse a problem,and then try and help them solve it ifyswim.
I hope it is for you,as I do think many people find it helpful,and what they need at that time in their lives.

Janni Sun 12-Aug-12 20:02:53

Thank you very much, those are very helpful posts.

OneOfMyTurnsComingOn Sun 12-Aug-12 20:04:16

What a great thread smile

Musomathsci Sun 12-Aug-12 20:06:16

Listening doesn't mean just sitting there like a passive sponge - you do get to ask questions and help people analyse their situation. It's just that you can't advise them what to do. People usually know what the 'fixes' for their problems are, but can't go ahead for various reasons, or the problems aren't actually solvable. Either way, talking seems to help.

bassetfeet Sun 12-Aug-12 23:08:25

What a very very valuable help you will be OP . So valuable and so needed.
I have rang them 4 times over the last few years and the feeling of need to connect to a human kind voice was so helpful . I was not suicidal but very very distressed.
Very different responses each time as is to be expected . One lady should have been marched out the office for the boredom in her voice [time to go home I thought ] .........but the two last lovely people I spoke to were superb.

They told me their name .asked mine .......connected ......even a bit of dark humour as I sobbed down the phone .
Real human kindness . I will never forget the guy who just cared to talk to me for ages ....

A wonderful thing to do OP ...........Good luck and thank you [cos it may be me who rings you ] .
Kind human contact is all when you are so lonely and desperate . And the Samaritans are precious ....every one of you .

but look after yourself also as it must be draining .

Janni Sun 12-Aug-12 23:37:03

Thank you everyone who has resonded.

Bassetfeet - it's really good to hear such a positive experience (apart from the one lady).

I like the inclusiveness of Samaritans - if you can make a phone call, or send an email, you can access the help. So much counselling etc seems to be restricted in some way depending on where you live/what you can afford etc.

sashh Mon 13-Aug-12 12:47:04

If you can do it then do.

I know I couldn't, I have met three people who started the training and felt they couldn't carry on.

It's not just people who are suicidal. One of the great things about samaritans is that they do not jdge. Which means that you could be listening to someone who has harmed a child and feels sorry for themselves.

I don't want to be negative, I just want you to be aware that you may have to deal with some difficult situations. You may have to sit and listen calmly to someone telling you something that in any other situation you would be outraged.

As I said, if you can do it, then please do. They are a wonderful organisation.

solidgoldbrass Mon 13-Aug-12 12:49:41

I have found them very useful in the past. Just being able to rant at someone who doesn't give you advice or try to put the other person's side of the story is very calming.

Janni Thu 16-Aug-12 18:29:39

Thank you again - I am reading all the replies, but have been offline for a few days. I'm definitely feeling motivated to go for it after what you've all said!

Janni Sun 24-Mar-13 23:22:35

An update: I am now a Samaritan and find it incredibly rewarding, though challenging at times. I find it a privilege to be trusted with the most intimate of confidences. Thank you to all who answered my thread last year.

Bugsbasset Mon 25-Mar-13 15:50:59

Janni thank you for updating. So lovely to hear that you are now a very valuable Samaritan and find it rewarding .

Your sentence "find it a privilege to be trusted " sums up to me the person who is exactly right for the role .
I used same phrase a while back to say why the more basic nursing tasks gave me such a feed back . To be trusted when our fellow man is at their most vulnerable is indeed a gift .
Thank you from me . I have used the Samaritans a number of times and every one of you do a wondrous job voluntarily .
Take good care of your own self and health flowers

Unfortunatleyanxious Mon 25-Mar-13 22:53:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Unfortunatleyanxious Mon 25-Mar-13 22:54:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ColouringInQueen Tue 26-Mar-13 13:28:41

Thats brilliant Janni grin. I have recently called the Samaritans as am suffering from severe depression and couldn't manage to speak to DH one night. A lovely irish lady with a beautiful accent got me talking step by step and helped me get out of the mental hole I had fallen into. She was brilliant. And she rang me back twice over the following fortnight. I was really touched by her compassion. Now I know there's someone there its a comfort. All the very best, and like UA, thank you.

Janni Fri 29-Mar-13 14:57:23

Thanks so much for your replies. It's really good to know how much the service means to people, J. xx

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