Beverley Dowden’s Take on Compassion

Our ambassadors have been sharing their thoughts with us via guest blogs. Read more from them here and here. We hope you enjoy this latest from Beverley Dowden on our initiative, #CompassioninSociety – SOS Silence of Suicide.

We can demonstrate compassion through words and acts of kindness, but most importantly by not assuming that someone is ok, has company, or can cope alone.  We need to ask; as so many people will not, or do not know how to ask for help, often for fear of rejection or fear of being a burden.  So many times I have come across people saying that I will grow lonely in my old age because I do not have children. Be that as it may, I myself am far from lonely. However, many elderly (and not so elderly) people may be so. Those who do have children may never get visits for a variety of reasons, children may live far away, be caught up in their own lives and an elderly parent can often be overlooked. Never assume that because someone has a family they are not lonely.  Please check.  I have had people say to me in the past that they would like to interact with their children and grandchildren but they are never invited to do so.

Acts of kindness need also not be actually doing anything but just helping people to keep busy can often be one of the best things we can do.  There are loads of free resources around, just one example is the RSBP Big Garden Birdwatch. Get in touch with them: they will send a free pack and you do not need a garden to take part. Organising something like this for someone will give them something to do, and there are other things available as well.  However an elderly person or someone with mental health problems may find it a really huge challenge to apply for the necessary packs (even if they have internet), so this kind of help is invaluable in keeping people motivated and busy, which is is the best mental health buster there is.  Offering to go for a walk is something else that we can do.  Some people with mental health issues are afraid to go out alone but with some support they would enjoy a walk however short.  Having a cup of tea and listening to music with someone can be another thing we can do.

These are just some of the things we can all do to help vulnerable people in the community, all people not necessarily the elderly and disabled.  Time is the most precious gift we can give and the one which is most appreciated by everyone regardless of their age.

If you are struggling and feel like you need to speak to someone, please reach out to our SOS helpline on 0300 1020 505. Lines are open every day between midday and midnight and someone will be there to listen. From 1 February, lines will be open even longer; from 8am every day.