Befrienders Worldwide’s vision is to contribute to a society where suicide is understood both locally and globally, leading to fewer deaths by suicide.
Our mission is to be a principal resource in emotional support and to share research which can lead to innovative service practices, delivered by volunteers.
We value giving a person the opportunity to explore feelings which can cause distress, the importance of being listened to, in confidence, anonymously, without prejudice and we value that a person has the fundamental decision about their own life.
We have an impact on suicide and suicidal behaviour through a network of 349 independent emotional support centres in 32 countries. These centres provide an open space for those in distress to talk and be heard. This service is provided via telephone helplines, SMS messaging, face to face, outreach, partnerships and the internet.
Although a recently registered charity, we are a longstanding network of thirty four years, providing outstanding support to those who need it. Many of the centres in our network have been providing a service to their community for over 40 years and have impacted the suicide taboo in their country, much like the work of our Japanese centres.
Some centres have developed strategic partnerships, such as those partnerships between the World Health Organisation and Sri Lanka’s Sumithrayo to reduce the number of suicides by pesticide in their rural communities and that of Samaritans of Singapore and the local police, to work around suicidal feelings.
Other centres are targeting particular sectors of society through innovative service delivery, such as our centres in Brazil with their web chat messaging support.
The support our centres provide relies predominantly on volunteers. These volunteers must recruit, train and support each other in their work.
We believe in the work the volunteers do and their ability to deliver a tailored and outstanding service. Our role is to support them in doing this, we provide our centres with best practice, training, research, support and guidance to provide an exceptional service to callers. The centres remain small and connected to their community with the support of a large organisation.
The work of the network’s centres is outstanding and vital. Capturing their abilities and achievements in suicide prevention will allow for a global exchange of knowledge and practice, developing new global processes that will improve the quality of their experience as volunteers, and ultimately the service they deliver.