Maria Stoffel, Administrator at The Eaves, discusses Shout, the mental health charity that she volunteers with. Maria is based at our Farnham practice, and oversees our private referrals system as well as managing our Student therapists who are on placement at The Eaves.
By Maria Stoffel
The mental health charity Shout is a voluntary organisation that I’ve been part of since October 2019. The service is there to provide immediate support for all sorts of mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression, discrimination and suicidal ideation. People can access Shout by anonymously texting 85258. The aim of the service is to help those that are struggling to cope find a place of calm.
Shout is run by more than 2300 volunteers who take two-hour shifts at least once a week. The volunteers provide those who text the charity with empathetic support and encouragement to help them to find tools to cope in the future. It’s not therapy, but rather a de-escalation service.
However, like therapy, the client takes the lead to find coping mechanisms that work well for them. We often tell texters that they understand their life best and that we’re not there to tell them what to do. It’s more about being a listening ear and asking questions whilst they figure things out. If asked, we’re able to provide further resources and can direct them to longer-term support like therapy. Volunteering for such a service has been incredibly rewarding. Being able to help others from a remote space means I’m able to help support people across the country.
Don’t hide your unhappy
Shout has recently launched a new campaign called ‘Don’t hide your unhappy’. The aim is to spread awareness about how masking your feelings can be damaging. Talking to somebody like a therapist, friend, family member, or an organisation like Shout, can help you let these feelings out. In fact, 86% of texters that were surveyed say the conversation they had around exploring their feelings was helpful to them. *
During my hours with Shout so far, I realise just how powerful simply listening to someone can actually be. Many people feel that they have nobody else to turn to. Having somebody non-judgemental to listen to their concerns can be a freeing experience.
The work I do with Shout is only for temporary support and is not designed to be a long-term solution. We are trained crisis volunteers, but we are not professionals.
Further support is available and, at The Eaves, we have over 100 therapists that can help with long term issues. Our therapists are based across our practices in Guildford, Godalming and Farnham as well as online. They see individuals of all ages, families, couples and young people 12 hours a day, Monday to Saturday between 9am and 9pm. Please call 01483 917000 to speak to a member of the referrals team. You can also send us an enquiry via our website. Click here to find out more.