Volunteering for SAPUK over the years 🌱

SAPUK started in 2016, if you haven’t read the 4th of September blog, please do but please be warned it is a trigger warning, a lot of posts with SAPUK may be trigger warned to be honest. This is SAP’s nature though, we support people who are suicidal everyday, there are going to be moments within the blogs that death in this way is discussed, it shouldn’t be but the reality of it is that it is, suicide takes too many of us and it can take us young, fit and healthy, it can take any of us at any moment, but please just know that time will heal you, it is going to be tough but reach out, get the adequate support that you need.

SAPUK has changed so much over the years, SAPUK never intended on becoming what it has, it started as a healing platform for my own trauma, to which due to the correspondence grew to being a support network, it was needed for those people at that moment, so we opened the messageline, it has been mind blowing processing the steps it has taken and is taking and will take, we have had many influences stepping in and out, adding their piece, but it is all for the same cause to help people with suicidal idealization and tendencies, I would like to thank every SAPUK member over the years, you have each inspired the foundations in your own way and I would like to thank you anyone who is inspired to help others in this way, a lot of people need you…

I think SAPUK’s biggest movement was the 2019 semi colon project, it was so amazing we were on BBC news, in the local newspaper and on the radio, we have a song released too, there were so many people talking about the semi colon tattoo, which is due again very soon, I will release a blog prior to the project to explain all about the project and how it started… But this really got the ball rolling and got SAPUK noticed for what we are, another support channel, another network, somewhere for people to turn too with privacy and confidentiality, with the recent studies showing 70% of people who approach the services for mental health support not actually receiving it… SAPUK’s main focus is keeping the support line up and open, we have to make sure it is covered from 6am – 11pm every day, but at the moment we have the most amazing team –

Over the years at SAPUK we have helped so many people who have struggled with suicidal thoughts and tendencies and have seen many people turn their life around with our support and help, what I say we are is that distraction away from suicidal thoughts, most services or support is a once-a-week arrangement, at SAPUK we operate 6am-11pm with no limitations on access to our support, you can message us any time your head feels uneasy and someone will be there with you. With our help people have had their thoughts settled, it can take any time to heal, just know that we are and always will be there for you. Sometimes people are with us for a month, a few months or sometimes a year or longer, it all depends on the support network you already have, if you have next to nothing, we may be looking at a longer healing period with SAPUK. At SAPUK we have a bunch of volunteers who are adequately trained and each have the most selfless personality, we have never been so lucky to find such individuals.

SAPUK first started with myself, then two years later SAPUK became three and we opened the message line we had a really good team in 2018, the OG sapuk team really set the standards, this was when we got our first collection of volunteers, there were 12 of us active on the message line, each person unique and selfless, but still this was staggered as committing to a voluntary role with no incentive, a lot of people can’t do it. But over the years we have kept around 12 volunteers, as most are in and out, but again committing to such a life changing role can be difficult. We have had volunteers for 3 years though so it is for some just not for all, what I have learnt in the current months is that we need to enrol a new volunteer once a week minimum to keep on top of things, as more people enter our community we need to ensure now more than ever that we always have the SAPChat line covered…

Over the years up until now 2022, we have had such a tough time with volunteers but that was due to me believing everyone could do it forever (attachment issues shining right through) so the volunteers were never refreshed in hope that they would stay, but this was never the case (let go!) and it has always been lacking a balanced flow throughout the company i believe due to this, it has been really tough, I can’t even express the tears that have been shed holding the fort, because although it is a voluntary role for the volunteers, for me it isn’t, being a volunteer means that you have the means to walk away, I can’t walk away, not now. If I walk away that support network that most have found themselves within, will all disappear, and my conscious would not allow me to hold that burden for long. In the 4 years that the message line has been open, we haven’t closed them once, that is over 1000 days of operation. Of course, I have had periods away from the CIC but it hasn’t been for long.

Volunteering for such a demanding role, is not easy. It can keep you awake at nights; it can play on your mind throughout the days, it can create worry – especially if we lose contact with someone, but this is never for long, people normally reply back if we reach out during concerned periods. It is tiring, it is so tiring, especially if you are on after hours and have to be up early, whilst balancing the admin side, ensuring posts are done throughout the day, marketing, have a family, university and general daily issues and commitments, I place many breakdowns within the vicinity of SAPUK definately, it has been really tough and I know it will carry on being tough, but you know what that doesn’t even matter anymore – as long as people have somewhere to turn – bring on the tough and as one of our members of the community would say ‘it is what it is’ – haha you will know who you are!

The best part about this is meeting new people, I love meeting new volunteers, it is so interesting because every person who comes forward to help has a unique background and a different method of healing, so for example if we have a person come through our message line who is struggling with severe BPD that may not be my forte but it will be another members, so I would put in the SAPFam whatsapp group, hey I am unsure on x, y and z and another member would be more familiar and assist where needed, another bond we have is we hold ourselves during crisis, if one of our members of the community is in crisis, i.e. attempting suicide there will be a number of us within support, one will keep the person talking getting the necessary details, whilst trying to settle them and another will call the necessary services, I would say we are a family, we support one another adequately and then support others…

Another thing is meeting the people who come through, i genuinely learn something new from every person, a new story or a new perspective, individuality is something that we should all remember when engaging in conflict or stresses, we are all different, we have a different view on life, we take different actions, we respond differently, we are so diverse.

The SAPUK team we currently have is strong this year it is definitely something we have lacked for so long (attachment issues coming soon), we have rota’s to work by now thank you to one of our members too, I am so disorganized, I work day by day generally and plus my life to do list is mounting so high, I couldn’t add formation in the team like that i would certainly mess it up, especially under the circumstances SAPUK was under right before Christmas, we lost a manager and several other volunteers all at once, I think there was three of us holding the fort before right before Christmas with a minimum of 10 people from the community needing support, it was horrendous and so tiring but it has eased off now, fingers crossed also touching wood!

But yeah I do enjoy volunteering, it has been that long now it’s a huge part of my life and forever will be 😊 we just need some more volunteers as we grow together and make a difference, even adding to one persons life is more than enough, but we do that to at least 10 people per day, well I hope so anyway 😊

All my Love D x

Categories SAPUK