The role of volunteer organizations in suicide prevention

Karl Andriessen

in Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198570059
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199640461 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

The role of volunteer organizations in suicide prevention

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Contemporary suicide prevention emerged, to a large extent, as a result of groundwork conducted by volunteers. This chapter focuses on the involvement of volunteers in suicide prevention organizations throughout history and across the world, without forgetting the involvement of volunteers in suicide bereavement support. The characteristics of volunteers and volunteer organizations are presented. The question regarding the effectiveness of volunteer organizations is addressed, e.g. the available evidence regarding the positive effects of telephone crisis lines, online chat, and ‘befriending’ in rural areas are discussed. However, further research is needed given the shortage of studies. The chapter concludes with a plea for increased cooperation between volunteer and professional organizations, and integration of volunteer work in national suicide prevention policies in order to provide optimal care to the people in need.

Chapter.  3065 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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