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Our lines are open Monday to Friday 8pm to Midnight and Saturday/Sunday 4pm until Midnight.
If our lines are closed, you can always call 999 or 111 or visit the following links:


What you need to know before applying…

What you need to know before applying…

Who can apply to volunteer or work with SOS?

We welcome applications from anyone! Our front-line phone support and support for front-line operative agents (known as spot checkers) must be aged 18 or over.

If you are a younger student (16–18) looking for some administrative or operational experience, please write to us with your CV in the first instance at training@sossilenceofsuicide.org and if we can accommodate you, we will!

If you are thinking of applying, please make sure that:

• You need to be able to volunteer or work 5 hours per week to suit the needs of the charity.
• Employees will have a contract of employment and will work on a specific day of the week.
• You are able to complete the designated training dates, as we cannot split them
• Enhanced DBS and Right to Work Checks: Please see the appropriate section for full details. No one will be allowed contact, even over the phone, with vulnerable service users until a certificate is obtained, and we have seen this alongside a right to work check. We insist upon this as part of our client safeguarding policy.
• If your background check (enhanced) returns any information, we will need to speak to you privately about this. Our priority must be the welfare of our clients.
• You will be referenced once your training is complete and our recruiters offer you a voluntary or paid position, depending on what you’ve applied for.

More about frontline training

Our training is robust, intense and ongoing, as is our support of you in your employed or volunteering role

As part of our safeguarding policy, on each shift (subject to illness), a frontline phone volunteer will have the support of a frontline support agent, also known as a spot checker. This means that you must have the ability to work on your own initiative and be confident in your decision making, but can also work as part of a team when this is required.

Training can be tough and draining, so do please say during training if you don’t feel this is for you. This works the other way too, we’d speak to you privately to explain our thoughts. Please don’t feel you cannot speak up, you can.

Scroll down towards the end of the page to see exactly how your training will run in terms of dates and times. We’ve done this to help you plan and decide whether or not you are able to fit this into your schedule. We apologise in advance for not being able to split the training modules up or changing the dates

After you’ve been on the phone lines for 3 months, you may be given the option to do other roles within the charity in line with your interests and which areas of yourself you might like to develop. This is completely optional and subject to trainer’s assessments, and many frontliners and support agents love the phone lines and choose to stay doing this.

The main point here is that SOS can give you choices – and the ability to develop new and existing skillsets if you want to, whilst learning about complex mental health issues and suicide prevention, intervention and awareness

All volunteers/workers must have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom and the necessary checks will be undertaken.

After Volunteer Training

If you successfully complete all modules and our trainers (and you!) are happy, we will ask you if you wish to join our volunteering team or come on board as a paid employee (depending upon what you applied for). There is no pressure to do so, you can change your mind at any point or even ask to swap roles from the one you trained for. We understand that what you thought might be right for you may not be, so please feel free to talk to us about this at any point during your training.

Once you are onboard, the following will happen:

*Be issued with some documentation to read and additional group or one to one re-cap training will be available at this point. You should allow 4 hours over a week to read the documents, ideally twice through.

*You will gain access to our scheduling and telephony portals and be shown how to access and use them

*You will be an observer and shadow only for the first 2 weeks

*You will be accompanied by a trainer on your first shifts who can intervene if necessary. Thereafter, you will be monitored by an administrator each time you are on duty. You will have constant support during your shifts.

You will be talked through the administration processes that naturally accompany this role

*You should fully consider and discuss with your family if necessary, any potential impacts on your own wellbeing. You will need emotional maturity and resilience to volunteer on our phone lines.

*That you can work as part of a team, are not afraid to speak up and suggest ways of doing things better, but equally, can work on your own initiative

What are spot checkers and call monitors?

What are Spot checkers/call monitors?

Support to frontline phone support agents (Known as spot checkers) are the vital link that supports the wellbeing of the client and the volunteer, a dual responsibility and partnership that ensures anyone calling our line gets the level of support they are entitled to.

This opportunity to new applicants who have previous supervisory experience, not necessarily in a helpline situation, but perhaps in a pressurised call centre environment. This role gives you the opportunity to develop and obtain new skill sets. You will train alongside our phone volunteers/employees, but undergo specific role training afterwards. You are welcome to apply without previous supervisory skills and will be assessed for suitability by our trainers.

You will have excellent communication & listening skills, patience and understanding. You will provide encouragement where it is needed, but will not be afraid of pointing out when things might not be following protocols. We will monitor these skills and your development during your time with us and help you improve in areas you may require additional support.

You will volunteer/work for 4 hour operational shifts, (with up to 1 hour for admin) alongside your front liners and will cover a maximum of 3 frontline phone support operatives at any one time, ensuring protocols and procedures are followed and to mitigate and manage any safeguarding issues that may arise. This does not mean we expect people to be perfect – we’re all human and doing our best and we should all remember this. Please note, if you are employed, you will be contracted for 5 hours per week only.

You will be a real peoples’ person – someone who is approachable and builds professional relationships easily . You will also need to take difficult decisions on the spot and recommend the best course of action. We will ensure you have all the tools necessary to competently carry out this role.

You will conduct debriefs with your front liners and complete reports within 48 hours of the end of your shift.

You must be able to separate professional and personal relationships when on shift and not allow these to cloud your judgement.

You will be assisted by a Helpline Supervisor.

We also welcome applications from anyone wishing to join our team in an administrative capacity on a voluntary only basis. Please send your CV to training@sossilenceofsuicide.org

Helpline volunteers

ON A VOLUNTARY OR EMPLOYEE CONTRACT BASIS

Are you someone who can deal with challenging and sometimes emotive situations whilst remaining calm and reassuring?

Are you passionate about helping vulnerable young people and adults through their darkest times? Can you follow protocols, processes and directions?

If so, consider applying to become a Frontline Phone Support Agent with SOS. Our line is open 8pm until midnight, every weekday, and from 4pm until midnight Saturdays and Sundays.

This role can be very challenging but the rewards are huge. Existing volunteers or employees can feel over whelmed at the good they have done. Talking to people, giving them your time and attention and guiding them through their worst times is one of the most unselfish and beneficial things any of us can do.

You’ll need to have emotional maturity and resilience for this role and be responsible for managing and monitoring your own emotional health, with our full support, whilst you are with us. You will receive weekly wellbeing emails and the support of the training team should you experience any negative impacts.

Your main passion is going to be a strong desire to help, through gentle conversation and a real ability to not just listen, but to hear and engage. Active listening alongside measured, relevant communication skills are essential for this role and your training will help you to develop these skills. Please remember, we are not a listening line – we are an engaging line, forging ongoing professional relationships with our callers with specific, essential boundaries in place.

You will be supported on shift by a support agent who can intervene should you need assistance. Regular refresher training is a must.

You’ll be someone who is highly compassionate, but maintains professional boundaries at all times.

Volunteer Application Form Terms & Conditions

Want to train and work from the comfort of your own home, regardless of where you are based?

Want training and ongoing support and the opportunity to develop new, transferrable skills? Then YOU could be perfect for SOS and its service users.

If you’re a team player, reliable and passionate about mental wellbeing, and want to join a small but growing team on a voluntary or paid basis, then apply today!

Volunteer or employed Frontline Call Taking Team Members

All volunteers or workers must be available for 5 hours per week . This includes 4 x operational hours and up to 1 hour of admin.

Our next training dates are 15th-19th April 2024 (inclusive) with each day’s training running between 10am and 4pm –  you will need to be available for all dates and times, thank you. Please do NOT apply if you cannot commit to our dates and times.

You will be asked whether or not you currently hold an enhanced DBS certificate.  If you do AND are on the update service, you can enter your certificate number for us to check.  If you don’t have a certificate, you will have to apply for one.

Employed operatives in this role will be contracted as per the primary shift you nominate where it is possible and subject to availability.  You should have at least 2 other options that you could work if your primary option is not available and will require a degree of flexibility to meet the charity’s needs.  Volunteers have flexibility to choose when they volunteer.

All volunteers MUST have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom and the relevant checks will be conducted.

(Please note: you may not hear back from SOS until the week training is due to commence, thank you)

Volunteer & Employed Spot Checker (frontline support) Application

All volunteers or workers must be available for 5 hours per week . This includes 4 x operational hours and up to 1 hour of admin.

Our next training dates are 11th-15th March 2024 (inclusive) with each day’s training running between 10am and 4pm –  you  will need to be available for all dates and times, thank you. Please do NOT apply if you cannot commit to our dates and times.  Please see further down the page whereby we may release people from training after each module.

You will be asked whether or not you currently hold an enhanced DBS certificate.  If you do AND are on the update service, you can enter your certificate number for us to check.  If you don’t have a certificate, you will have to apply for one.

Employed operatives in this role will be contracted as per the primary shift you nominate where it is possible and subject to availability.  You should have at least 2 other options that you could work if your primary option is not available and will require a degree of flexibility to meet the charity’s needs.  Volunteers have flexibility to choose when they volunteer.

All volunteers MUST have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom and the relevant checks will be conducted.

(Please note: you may not hear back from SOS until the week training is due to commence, thank you)

You must be a UK resident to apply

To offset our carbon footprint, SOS operates a paperless environment where applicable. However, if you prefer to print off a paper copy, you can do so by highlighting the whole form, right click, print, then complete it manually and post to:

SOS Silence of Suicide

Portobello House
Portobello Way
WARWICK
CV34 5GJ

How to Apply & Other Important Information

We realise not everyone can submit online applications or may not want to. There are other ways of getting in touch.

Highlight the application form, right click and print, then fill it in and email it to training@sossilenceofsuicide.org

*Alternatively, as above, but by post to our office:

SOS Silence of Suicide,

2nd Floor, Portobello House, Portobello Way, Warwick CV34 5GJ

Playing our part in reducing and offsetting our carbon footprint is important to SOS. Therefore, we are, where absolutely possible, a paperless charity.

  • Applications are open to UK residents only & right to work checks will be carried out
  • If you are applying for this role, you must have a mobile handset that calls will be diverted through our app.
  • For all roles, you must be available for 4 hours of operational time and up to 1 hour of admin time each week. For employed agents, you will work on a specific day of the week agreed in advance and written into your contract. Please note, if you are employed, you will be contracted for 5 hours per week only.
  • Please read all information thoroughly before applying.
  • Refresher training and meetings are ongoing. Please take advantage of these.

HOW TO APPLY

Once you’ve decided which role you’d like to apply for, and have thought seriously about any side effects and impacts on yourself and are satisfied with your decision you should: (Go back to the top of the page and click the correct button, thank you)

For Frontline Phone Support Volunteers/Employees: Front Line Phone Support Volunteer application form.

For Support to Frontline Agents Volunteers/Employees: Support to Front Line Operatives

For administrative opportunities, please email your CV to training@sossilenceofsuicide.org

Important Information About Enhanced DBS and Right to Work

Please ensure you read the whole of this section. It is important and contains information you need to be aware of before applying. If you have any questions, please write to training@sossilenceofsuicide.org thank you.

*Everyone who is either volunteering or working as a frontline phone support operative or a support to frontline operatives, and certain other personnel, require an enhanced DBS certificate. This is part of our safeguarding policy.

*You do not need to apply for this prior to training; you will be asked to apply once your training is complete and if you are successfully asked to join SOS either as a volunteer or as an employed worker.

*Volunteers are asked to complete their own applications, and the relevant guidance is issued. The heavily discounted cost to volunteers at the time of writing (24/9/23) is £15.85 through our provider, Care Check.

*Employees do not get a discounted rate, and the full cost is £56.00. It is the trainees responsibility to apply for and pay for their enhanced DBS and right to work checks, in line with most other organisations. We have guidance to help you through this process.

*Right to work checks are approximately £3.85 (corrected at 16/12/23)

NOTE: Carecheck charges are correct at 24/09/23 and are subject to review. This is a third-party government-registered organisation and has no relationship with this charity. SOS receives no payment or benefit whatsoever from your transaction with them, and you are free to use other providers if you so wish.

The charity, as per its legal requirements, will conduct the right to live and work in the UK checks prior to any offer of a voluntary or employed position being made

The differences between volunteering and being employed—what you need to know and consider

Some of the characteristics of an unpaid volunteer for these roles are:

  • Donates their time and expertise freely, and does not get paid for doing so.
  • Can be re-imbursed expenses if any are incurred
  • Can be flexible in the days and times that they operate, or they may choose to operate on the same day and/or times during the week
  • Do not have a legally binding contract employment, but instead, a volunteer agreement which is a sign of goodwill by both parties
  • Do not qualify for sick pay or annual leave, but can take time out whenever they want to.
  • Understands that no formal contract of employment is implied or intended through unpaid volunteering.
  • This applies to frontline phone support operatives and support to frontline operatives (spot checkers)
  • For SOS, where the same role carries 2 options – volunteers or contracted employees, should you decide to volunteer only, we would ask you to sign a disclaimer that you have opted out of becoming a paid, contracted employee.

Some of the characteristics of a contracted, employed worker with SOS for these roles are:

  • You will be contracted to work 5 hours per week, 4 operational, 1 x administrative
  • You will be paid for your work
  • You will be issued with a legally binding contract of employment
  • You will be asked to tell us your primary day of operation, with a substitute day in case you cannot make the first one from time to time and we will schedule you to the best of our ability in line with your needs, but you will need a degree of flexibility.
  • This applies to frontline phone support operatives and support to frontline operatives.

How your April 2024 training will look - please note all days begin at 10am and conclude at 4pm, thank you.

15th April 2024, Day 1, Module 1

Day 1, Module 1 , Power Point Introduction 15th April 2024

Module 1 consists of a brief over view of what you can expect from volunteering with us and what we’d like you to be able to do for the charity.  You can do this to suit yourself, anytime between 9am and 6.30pm. There is a Q&A section which forms part of this module which must also be completed by 6.30pm.  Unfortunately, we are unable to offer extensions to this time limit

Trainers: None, this is a self service module

16th April 2024, Day 2, Module 2

Day 2, Module 2, Basic Call Handling Skills and Role Play 16th April 2024

Module 2 is built around role play and how to develop your communication  and active listening skills – how we can say things in different ways and how this may change the meaning.  You will have the opportunity to play word games, designed to encourage open speech and confidence.  This module runs on Teams and is between 11am and 4pm

TRAINERS: Kacey, Margaux, Elliot and Tony

17th April, 2024, Day 3, Module 3

Day 3, Module 3, Advanced Call Handling Skills and Role Play 17 April 2024

During this module you will listen to  and critique calls so you are aware of what may happen when you answer the phone.

You will be given the opportunity to give us your feedback on these calls and you will do additional role play on crisis level calls.

You will also be trained in taking calls from children and young people, including the differences in approach, the pathway differences to adults and the documentation that needs completing in certain situations.

This module is run on teams and is between 10am and 4pm.

TRAINERS; Kacey, Elliot, Margaux, Tony

18th April 2024, Day 4, Modules 4 and 5

Day 4, Modules 4 & 5, About your callers, how to handle calls, about mental health, 18 April 2024

These  interactive training sessions are run on the same day and are vital for your deeper understanding of suicide, mental health and mental wellbeing.  You will also learn about why people call helplines such as ours and some of the challenges you may face.  It will involve latest NICE guidelines on the handling and confidentiality elements of those presenting as suicidal

Module 4 will begin at 10am and will last for 4 hours.  You will then have a break.

Module 5  will begin at approximately 3 pm and will last for an hour.

Testing will begin online after Pathways and will last for approximately 1 hour

All trainees will be required to attend these modules.

Trainer: Kacey, Elliot, Margaux, Tony

19th April 2024, Day 5 - Module 6

MODULE 6 , Administration and Recap, Day 5, 2nd 19th April 2024

This is a chance for you, together with your trainers and other trainees, to reflect on what you have learned so far and for us all to go over the most important points from your perspective.  This module will run from 10am until 4pm and will be hosted via a teams meeting.

We will also cover general housekeeping and administrative parts of the role  as well as anything else that is needed.

During this meeting, we will be very interested in how you are feeling, if you have any doubts or concerns and whether you’d prefer another role within SOS instead.

We will go through your personal lived experiences of suicide and/or poor emotional health and how these may be of benefit in your role and also any impacts they may have upon you.

You will also have a 121 at the end of training.

Trainers: Kacey, Elliot, Margaux, Tony

About our volunteers

All of our volunteers/employed workers either have singular or multiple lived experiences and/or knowledge within the following fields:

*Mental Wellbeing & Mental ill health

*Suicide (which includes bereavement and/or previous thoughts of, or attempting suicide)

*Some are students currently studying at University a mental health discipline

*Some are qualified counsellors, although SOS do NOT offer a counselling service themselves

*All have a desire to help those in crisis and attempting to find ways to help make a difference.

Our founders have combined experience of mental ill health, thoughts of suicide and bereavement by suicide.

We believe that lived experiences contribute heavily to the quality of our services.

FAQs about frontline volunteering and working...

Do I need previous experience?

No, not at all.  Our training will equip you to carry out your role effectively and confidently.  All we ask is that you have an understanding of mental wellbeing and mental ill health and are passionate about wanting to help others. All of our current volunteers or workers have lived experiences or are studying in the field of mental health or already hold relevant qualifications.   Ideally, spot checkers will have some degree of supervisory experience, but this is not essential as everyone will be independently assessed by our trainers.

What device do I need to do my online training?

You will need to use a device that can easily and clearly  process and display PowerPoint slides.  A phone is never usually the best device and we would advise a tablet, laptop or desktop

All online group training (except Module 1) is delivered via Teams. Please confirm you have already, or can get, Teams on your device in good time for training.  Again, a phone is not necessarily the best device for this.

What device can I use for taking calls on behalf of SOS?

You must use a mobile handset if you are taking calls.  Support to Frontline Agents (spot checkers) must use a laptop or desktop.

Will I be paid for volunteering with SOS?

No, all our volunteering roles are unpaid and are not employed positions.  Please be sure you understand and are happy with, unpaid volunteering before you apply.  You will only be paid for these roles if you apply to become an employee.  Make sure you tick the right box on the application form.

Can I apply for my enhanced background check after I’ve finished training?

Please see the separate sections above about DBS and right to live and work checks, thank you

Will service users be given my personal number?

No. Your personal information is not shared, or seen, externally.

If I feel I need additional training, is this available?

Yes, ongoing training and refresher training is available, alongside one to one discussions about any concerns or questions you may have.  We also have monthly meetings, where you can chat to others and exchange experiences.  You can also voice any concerns to our wellbeing personnel who make weekly email contact with you.

What if I change my mind and want to do a different role?

That’s fine, simply let us know and we can arrange this for you!

When do you apply for references?

We apply for references once you have been offered, and accepted, a place with SOS

Do spot checkers have to have an enhanced DBS certificate too?

Yes, spot checkers must also have an enhanced DBS certificate

Does applying for my enhanced DBS certificate mean I automatically proceed to volunteer with SOS?

Being taken on as a volunteer or worker with SOS is dependant upon many factors, including the completion of training. Applying for, or already having a certificate is no guarantee we will invite you to volunteer with us. However, your certificate may be transferrable to use for other organisations, subject to their criteria.

Can I volunteer to do the same shift every week?

In theory, yes. However, once the schedule is open it is first come first served for volunteers, so it is best to act quickly to get the shifts each week that you prefer.  For employed members, they will be contracted to do a specific day each week (or their secondary day) and will therefore have a priority over volunteers.

Please note, if you are employed, you will be contracted for 5 hours per week only, on a specific day of the week agreed in advance.

How your training will look

Day 1, Module 1

Module 1 consists of a brief over view of what you can expect from volunteering with us and what we’d like you to be able to do for the charity.  This module runs from 10am to 4pm.

Trainers: None, this is a self service module

Day 2, Module 2 

Module 2 is built around role play and how to develop your communication  and active listening skills – how we can say things in different ways and how this may change the meaning.  You will have the opportunity to play word games, designed to encourage open speech and confidence.  This module runs on Teams and is between 11am and 4pm

Day 3, Module 3

During this module you will listen to calls so you are aware of what may happen when you answer the phone.

You will be given the opportunity to appraise the calls and tell us what you think is right or wrong about them.

You will also be trained in taking calls from children and young people, including the differences in approach, the pathway differences to adults and the documentation that needs completing in certain situations.

This module is run on teams and is between 11am and 4pm.

Day 4, Modules 4 & 5

These 2 interactive training sessions are run on the same day and are vital for your deeper understanding of suicide, mental health and mental wellbeing.  You will also learn about why people call helplines such as ours and some of the challenges you may face.  It will involve latest NICE guidelines on the handling and confidentiality elements of those presenting as suicidal

Module 4 will begin at 10am and will last for 4 hours.  You will then have a break.

Pathways (Module 5) will begin at approximately 3 pm and will last for an hour.

All trainees will be required to attend these modules.

MODULE REFLECT (For phone support  & S/C trainees)

This is a chance for you, together with your trainers and other trainees, to reflect on what you have learned so far and for us all to go over the most important points from your perspective.  This module will run from 10am until 4pm and will be hosted via a teams meeting.

We will also cover general housekeeping and administrative parts of the role  as well as anything else that is needed.

During this meeting, we will be very interested in how you are feeling, if you have any doubts or concerns and whether you’d prefer another role within SOS instead.

You will also be discussing more about calls from young people

Module 6

Final Assessment.

Your final assessments will be on Teams where we will speak to you one at a time, privately in an offshoot room, although the session itself will be a group one.

You will each be given individual feedback and have the chance to ask questions and give us feedback too.

At this point, we decide if you are suitable to volunteer with us in the role you’ve applied for.  We reserve the right to suggest another role for you if we feel you are better suited to something else.

We will also give you updates on your references and DBS situation where applicable.

You will be asked on day 2 of training if you require this module and will be booked in accordingly.

Will I be paid if I become an employee with SOS?

Besides volunteering for our frontline and support roles, we are currently accepting applications for paid operatives, meaning you will be given a contract of employment which will detail a specific day of the week that you work.  If you only wish to join us on a voluntary basis, you will be asked to sign a disclaimer that you do not wish to take up an employed position with us and are happy to volunteer on an unpaid basis only.  Please select either paid or volunteer on your application form, thank you.

More About Training and our Terms

Training is part of our recruitment process, much like an interview.  Therefore, in order to either volunteer or be given an employed contract with us, training has to be successfully completed.  For those seeking a contract with us, you will not be paid during this time as you are still being processed through training for suitability and no decision will have been made as to whether or not you will be invited to join SOS.

At the end of  any modules of your training, with the exception of Day 1, Module 1*, we reserve the right to release anyone from training after modules 2,3,4 and 5.

*We do not release people after module 1 unless they have not completed the module and the Q&A afterwards.  Anyone obtaining a score of less than 50% maybe asked to re-do the module or may be released at that point when a score is particularly poor.

*We reserve the right to release people from training at all stages from Module 2