Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) exist to meet the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by suicide. It is made up mainly of volunteers, nearly all of whom have themselves lost someone to suicide. Our peer led support groups and national helpline can provide a safe, confidential environment in which those impacted by suicide can share experiences and feelings, thus giving and gaining support from each other.
Peer Support Group Leaders/Facilitators:
We run local SoBS support groups at locations around the UK – and we are always looking to open more. Groups are open to anyone over 18 and create an opportunity for people to meet with others who have been bereaved by suicide so that they can share experiences and ask questions. They meet once a month, at a set time and location.
Each local SoBS group is run by a team of 3 (minimum): the group leader and two group volunteers. 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. The team also work together to manage the administration, fundraising and communication for the group.
We currently have 50 support groups in Nationwide for those over 18 years but we need more groups in all counties.
Could you see yourself running a group in any of these areas or surrounding areas?
National Helpline Volunteers:
We operate a national helpline, open from 9am to 9pm Monday to Friday, 52 weeks of the year. We take calls from anyone who is over 18 and it is an opportunity for people to talk with someone who has been bereaved by suicide.
Helpline volunteers listen to callers, answer any questions they have and arrange to send them further information if required. Sometimes callers may ask you to share your personal story. They have shifts assigned in advance and the telephone line is diverted to their land line for these shifts. Some people have a different ring tone assigned for helpline calls.
Great group volunteers and helpline volunteers do more listening than talking, and are comfortable listening to the experiences of others while paying attention to their own well-being and boundaries.
Please note that you must meet the following criteria to be a volunteer with SoBS:
- You have been bereaved/impacted by suicide loss (no less than 2 years)
This shared experience with the people who come to our groups/contact our helpline is a really important part of what makes them so effective. People feel that they will be understood.
- All volunteers must be able to attend SoBS training (one day) before they can volunteer.
- Are over 18 years
Interested? Please go to our website and complete an application form (found under Help us).
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