Case Studies

Natalie Beeby

Ashleigh Coney

I volunteer with the Samaritans and I am currently studying psychology and counselling. I have recently become more aware of the importance of volunteering and how having some experience can help with your future career. I hope to develop a career within counselling in the future, and I wanted to gain some important relevant experience, develop new skills and improve and build on my listening and communicating skills. I thought Samaritans would be an ideal organisation to help me do this.

A typical Samaritans shift is spent answering calls and replying to emails providing emotional support to people who are in distress or despair including those who have suicidal thoughts. Volunteering at Samaritans has helped me to massively improve my communication and listening skills and also to be able to better empathise with and understand people from all backgrounds. It has further confirmed to me that this is the kind of work that I would like to do as a career.

I enjoy the feeling that what I have done has helped someone in some way, but also being part of such a great organisation full of very dedicated people. I also enjoy speaking to people from all kinds of backgrounds with different perspectives and opinions, that I otherwise would not necessarily get a chance to really engage with.

I would say to give volunteering your best try, be as dedicated as you possibly can, but be realistic as to what you can do or how much time you can give up. At Samaritans there is always somebody you can talk to if something is bothering you, so to talk about any problems first and see if it can be sorted before quitting or letting it get to you. Make the most of the training you are given and try to take this on board and be as open to this as possible. Don't be too hard on yourself if you make mistakes, see it as part of the learning process.

When I graduate from University I hope to go on to do postgraduate study within counselling with the goal of eventually becoming a counsellor. Alongside further study I would like to work in some kind of support worker role, helping people to live independently. I intend to continue volunteering with Samaritans after university and for as long as it is possible for me to do so, as it is something I have really enjoyed and feel proud to be a part of.