This blog post was written by PAPYRUS volunteer, Neville Eden, to discuss his inspiration to becoming a volunteer with the charity. To find out more about becoming a volunteer at PAPYRUS, visit the link at the end of this blog.
Hi, my name is Neville Eden and I am a volunteer for PAPYRUS.
I had a successful career in Engineering for a global pharmaceutical company and 11 years ago started my own consultancy business. I am from England originally but now live in beautiful North Wales and I am loving immersing myself in Welsh culture and learning Cymraeg.
As the global Covid pandemic hit in 2020 and we all went into lockdown, my work basically evaporated. I am extremely fortunate that it didn’t mean financial hardship for me, but I was keen to find something worthwhile to do to keep my mind active and to help fill my spare time. I spotted an advert for PAPYRUS which explained they were looking for volunteers, and the charity’s aims and objectives resonated strongly with me, so I applied – and here I am.
I am 63 years old as I write this, and happy, but it hasn’t always been that way. I had some mental health issues that started in my university days – basically excessive worrying, anxiety and I had a number of episodes that I now recognise as depression.
It was a bit of a rollercoaster and in my early 30’s I hit an all-time low.
Despite being happily married and having two wonderful young children and a lovely family around me, I decided in my extremely distorted state of mind that ‘everyone would be better off without me’, and I tried to kill myself.
I was extremely fortunate to have woken up in hospital in Barrow-in-Furness, over 100 miles from home with my wife and brother-in-law at my bedside.
My journey to recovery restarted on that day. It was a long process with ups and downs along the way, but thankfully I am here almost 30 years later living an amazing life and proud to be giving something back to help prevent young suicides with PAPYRUS.
As you can imagine, having such a close association with suicide makes my experience of being a volunteer such a rewarding one. Every time I do something in my role as a volunteer, I think about someone out there whose life might be saved by PAPYRUS’s work and by its national helpline HOPELINE247. I say to myself that if what I do to support and help the charity results in just one life saved, then it will be worth it.
As a volunteer, I can do as much or as little as I wish and fit it around my work and other interests and commitments. I help raise awareness through social media, sharing posts from PAPYRUS. I attend local events to get PAPYRUS’s message out there – e.g. attending college and university freshers’ fairs, distributing leaflets and posters, and talking openly with young people about suicide.
I have also helped to raise money by taking part in the charity’s annual HOPEWALK events which are hosted every October, encouraging friends, family and strangers on social media to sponsor me.
As volunteers, we act as a conduit for PAPYRUS to reach into our local communities, because we all know our own communities much better than someone in a remote office can. I have delivered presentations on behalf of PAPYRUS to local organisations and community groups, some of which have led to them requesting further training and resources from trained professionals at PAPYRUS, equipping them to have good conversations with people that may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.
As volunteers, we really can amplify the impact and reach that PAPYRUS can achieve and make a real difference on the ground in our communities.
As a volunteer, you don’t have to commit a prescribed amount of time to the role. Equally, if giving presentations isn’t your bag then there’s no pressure at all to do that. There is scope as a volunteer to do as much or as little as you wish and to help PAPYRUS in any number of ways that suit your own preferences, skills and availability.
Volunteers receive excellent training and support and you don’t have to have any strong connection or experience of suicide, just a desire to help stop the tragic loss of young lives – about five young people per day take their lives in the UK.
So, if you have a little spare time and would like to help prevent young suicides, then why not visit the volunteer page and start your own amazing journey to save a young life, or make a donation to support our work.