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Rebecca O'Loughlin is making a difference

29 May 2014

I am a volunteer listener for the Samaritans

Making a difference

Being a listening volunteer for Samaritans involves committing to regular fortnightly duties and overnight shifts, during which I provide emotional support to distressed, despairing, and sometimes suicidal callers on the phone, via emails and texts, and through face-to-face visits. Callers contact Samaritans for a variety of reasons: they may be struggling to cope with day to day life; they may have suffered a bereavement; they may have financial worries; they may be experiencing physical or mental illness.

I offer them a non-judgmental, listening ear, and give them the time and space to try to find a way through their problems. I have also led a shift of Samaritans, supporting and motivating other volunteers, which is especially important after emotionally demanding calls. I was also a member of the team of Samaritans which provides regular face-to-face support to inmates in Leeds Prison; this involved going on to the wings to listen to prisoners, many of whom were at risk of suicide or self-harm.Being a Samaritan is a challenging role which requires high levels of emotional resilience.

I was really pleased that the University recognised this work I do by nominating me for a Volunteer of the Year award, and even more thrilled to win.

More information

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