The Befrienders Worldwide Network

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.


Aim of the network

The aim of the network is to assist member Centres in providing appropriate emotional support services for people who are suicidal and/or in distress. We do this by the sharing of information and resources in order to improve their ability:

  •  to make their service readily available to all people requesting it
  •  to develop effective service policies and practices
  •  to encourage appropriate research

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.


Key common principles of Member Centres

  •  Centres provide emotional support to people who are suicidal, or in general distress
  •  Confidentiality is respected
  •  Centres are non-political and non-sectarian, and volunteers do not seek to impose their own convictions on anyone
  •  Where appropriate, callers may be invited to consider seeking professional help in addition to the emotional support offered by the Centre
  •  Centres are mainly resourced by volunteers
  •  Volunteers are selected, trained, mentored and supported by other experienced volunteers and any necessary relevant professional experts
  •  Centres are mutually supportive and committed to sharing information with other member Centres, and participating in processes and activities of the network

Become a member today - join our network