Have you been Bereaved by Suicide? Do you have a desire to help other people who have also been Bereaved by Suicide? If you are a superb organiser, great communicator and are comfortable listening to the experiences of others, then you could be just the person we are looking for.
We have self-help support groups across the UK, where you can meet with other people who have been bereaved by suicide and we want recruit volunteers to start new groups in County Durham. Typically, our groups meet once a month and last for around 2 hours. Presently many groups are meeting virtually via Zoom but when regulations allow, they will return to Face to Face. They provide an opportunity to listen, to share, to ask questions and to connect with others.
Each local SoBS group is run by a team of 3: the group leader and two group volunteers, all of whom have been bereaved by suicide themselves. Between them, they facilitate the session, get the conversation started, make sure everyone has the opportunity to talk if they want to, and generally look out for people and each other. The team also work together to manage the administration, fundraising and communication for the group, sometimes with the help of additional support volunteers.
There is no set structure to a session – people are free to talk and listen as they wish. The topics discussed vary from week to week but often includes people sharing their story, how they are feeling, what has happened since their last group visit, questions about coroners and discussions about common challenges such as flashbacks, supporting children or facing neighbours. Many groups also offer a small resource library and can share information about local sources of support.
No particular experience or qualities are required, however, our facilitators are normally described as being good listeners and empathic. To be a facilitator with us you must have been bereaved by suicide at least 2 years ago and be aged over 18.
This will be decided amongst the volunteers but generally groups meet once per month in the evening and somewhere with good access for people who can't drive.
Full induction via e-learning followed by a 1/2 day training course, presently run virtually via zoom. Volunteers will support each other and also other groups will support the new ones as they get established. There is a volunteer coordinator available to assist when required. There is also supervision available and ongoing training. Out of pocket expenses are covered and each group is issued with a Barclaycard.
very rewarding when you see other people who are struggling with grief to gain strength from a group and be able to look towards a new normal life