|Setting up an Emotional Support Service
If you are considering setting up a volunteer service to provide emotional support to the distressed and suicidal, there are some important points to consider:
Identify the need
- Who are the potential users of the service?
- What are the local needs within the area?
- What is the suicide rate in your catchment area?
- Which other agencies would have contact with callers?
- What facilities already exist for people in distress? (e.g. telephone helplines, email helplines, drop-in centres); How adequate are they?
Involving the local community
- Who could lend professional support? (e.g. social workers, community workers, psychiatrists, health workers, lawyers)
- Are there other non-governmental or voluntary organisations with which you could collaborate? (e.g. working with older people, youth, disabled people, AIDS affected)
- Is there a large enough group of people in the locality from which to recruit potential volunteers?
- Is there potential to raise money to set up and maintain a service?
What types of service?
Planning a service
- Telephone helpline
- Emotional support service by correspondence (letter)
- Emotional support service by email
- Emotional support service by text (SMS)
- Outreach programmes in the community
- Combination of the above
You need to do the following:-