Side by Side with Volunteers

We, along with many groups and individuals, threw ourselves into this crisis by volunteering to do whatever we could. There were no interviews, no screening, or preparation, or safeguarding rules and regs to adhere to – we just ‘did it’. Fast forward to today and here we are, still doing ‘it’!

‘It’ for some is being on the ground either full time or for months at a time. For others ’it’ is doing what we can, when we can as we try and work, raise families, lead normal lives. Working with and talking to a number of volunteers over the years has inevitably raised some health issues. Feelings of ‘guilt’, ‘anger’, ‘not doing enough’, anxiety and sleeping issues were all mentioned, and also some more concerning thought processes. The mental health of humanitarian workers and volunteers is of vital importance both to themselves and to the people they are supporting. There is a lot of talk about burn out, and of trauma after ‘being on the ground’ for a prolonged period. Adjusting to normal life with family and friends becomes very difficult. Hearing all of this prompted research into who might be able to support those struggling to cope. We decided to introduce Side by Side Volunteers, a perfect complement to our main focus of providing aid. There are some amazing therapists, groups and individuals offering an array of services. Our objective is to offer suggestions and to signpost any Volunteer who feels they need help. This page is open to those who are able to promote their services.

So far we have supported people directly and indirectly and we are looking to develop this ’service’ more fully.

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