Meet one of our newest Shout Volunteers, 25-year-old Emily from London. Emily signed-up to become a Shout Volunteer after she had a positive experience of using the service herself.
Having completed her training earlier this year, Emily recently took her first shift on the platform. Here, she shares her experiences.
“I am most looking forward to being able to give back to the community which once helped me so much and to make a difference to peoples’ lives.”
What made you want to become a Shout volunteer?
Giving back to the community means a lot to me so volunteering for Shout was a no-brainer. On top of this, having been a user of Shout and having found the experience very positive, I wanted to be able to help others too.
How did the training prepare you for your first shift?
The training was really in-depth and covered everything from responding to texters in crisis to how to book your first shift. It was well planned and you could work through it at your own pace, as long as you met certain deadlines – but if any of these were a problem you could just reach out to the training team. You do various types of activities - like quizzes and conversation simulations - and these all helped to prepare me for my first shift.
The training team was fantastic. No issue was too small for them to help with and having reached out a few times I was so impressed by their willingness to take time to guide me through the training material.
How did you feel on your first shift?
Nervous, so nervous! I had a quick look on the platform a couple of times before taking my first shift to familiarise myself. But I felt the pressure of having been a texter and now just wanting to be able to give back, and it got the better of me temporarily.
“I reached out to other volunteers for advice and got some incredible responses. This gave me the confidence to take that first text and I didn’t look back from there!”
How did it go?
My first shift was much less scary than I thought it would be. After logging on, my Supervisor immediately reached out to check-in and see that all was ok before I started. The texters I responded to really appreciated the conversations we had and this made me feel like I was doing something right! I had a more challenging conversation at one point but my Supervisor was there to guide me through it, so I felt well supported. After my shift I logged off, did some mindfulness on the Headspace app and had an early night.
Did you feel supported?
This is something which really surprised me - from day one of signing-up to training, right through to my first shift and beyond, the support from Shout has been incredible. There is always someone you can talk to and no issue is too small. For any other new and future volunteers, definitely use the help around you as it will only make you better equipped to manage situations.
What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a Shout Volunteer?
“Do it! Seriously, you won’t regret it.”
It is definitely challenging and requires commitment but it is so, so worth it. You work alongside the most supportive, encouraging volunteers and get to help people work through some of the most difficult situations in their lives – all in all, an incredibly rewarding experience.
Find out more about becoming a Shout Volunteer today.