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The Gift of Listening

Jenni McCartney

Jenni McCartney (@SamaritansJenni) has been a volunteer at Samaritans for more than 30 years, and in 2015 was elected Chair of Trustees, representing the charity’s 21,000 volunteers.

As part of her role she writes a blog for Samaritans’ internal website, delivers speeches at the Council of Samaritans and at branch AGMs, and spends time travelling round the 201 branches dotted throughout the UK and Ireland to meet with volunteers and help spread the word.

In recognition of these efforts, Jenni has been awarded the CharityComms Inspiring Communicator Award for her work engaging with volunteers, and for representing Samaritans in the media.

In today’s episode we learn about the history and formation of Samaritans, how and why Jenni first became a volunteer and, more importantly, why she decided to stick with it for more than thirty years.

We explore the most common reasons people turn to Samaritans, how it evolved from a suicide prevention line into an emotional support service that anybody could call for any reason, why Samaritans policy is primarily to listen without giving advice, and how this approach can often be more effective in helping callers find the answers they’re looking for.

We also explore what it’s like to be a volunteer answering calls, what’s involved in the training process, what you actually say and do when a call comes in, how you learn to help other people deal with their negative life experiences without letting it affect your own emotional well being, but ultimately, how listening to other people’s problems is, more often than not, a rewarding experience for both parties.

 

Recommended Links

Samaritans – Home Page

Samaritans Volunteer Sign-up Page

Books Mentioned in This Episode

 

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Image courtesy: Alon

Why Do People Kill Themselves?

Prof. Rory O’Connor

Rory O’Connor (@suicideresearch) is Chair in Health Psychology, Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at Glasgow University where he also leads the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory, the leading suicide and self-harm research group in Scotland.

He is co-editor of “The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention“, Deputy Chief Editor of Archives of Suicide Research, and Associate Editor of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

As well as serving on the Scientific Review Board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, he also sits on the Scottish Government’s national suicide and self-harm implementation and monitoring group.

In today’s conversation we explore some common myths about suicide, why men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide and the role and responsibility of the media when it comes to reporting on this particular issue.

We discuss the development of Rory’s theory of suicidal behaviour and his mission to discover what separates the few people who die by suicide from the vast majority who don’t, the effectiveness of suicide awareness campaigns, why suicide should never be seen as a cop out and suicide attempts never dismissed as attention seeking.

We also spend a good deal of time exploring some practical advice for people, and the friends and relatives of those people, who are themselves feeling suicidal.

 

 

Integrated Motivational Volitional (IMV) Model of Suicidal Behaviour

 

Recommended Links

Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab

Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide – Samaritans

How to Help Someone who is Suicidal and Save a Life – HelpGuide

How to make a suicide safety plan – SuicideLine

Books Mentioned in This Episode

     

 

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Image courtesy: Colin Knowles


CRISIS HELPLINES

UK & ROI

Samaritans

166 123

Available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This number is FREE to call and won’t appear on your bill. You do not have to be suicidal to call.

USA

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1 800 273 8255

Available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This number is FREE to call, but may appear on your bill (please check with carrier). You do not have to be suicidal to call.

Live outside the UK or US?

For a comprehensive list of international helplines, or to find a crisis centre in your area please click here!