Visiting can be a wonderful and positive experience for all involved. However, it is important to remember that you will be coming into direct contact with some of the most visceral oppressions imparted by the state, and engaging directly with people who may be in very difficult situations. SDS takes supporting visiting members, as well as people in detention, very seriously. Often, though not always, visitors play a supporting role to the person they are visiting. This in turn can mean that visitors need some support too.
There are currently five tiers of support available for visitors – it is very important that we support each other as much as possible.
(iii) Peer Support
(iv) Group Counselling
(v) Individual Counselling
Peer support sessions are once a month, and it is mandatory that you attend at least one session a term while you are visiting. Even if you don’t feel you need it, peer support sessions are a space where we can offer support to one another, and it might be that you have had experiences that could help others who are struggling.
Further information about the group and individual counselling opportunities will be shared on the SDS mailing list throughout the year – get in touch with the coordinator or well-being ‘working group’ if you have any queries.
If you are struggling in any way, no matter how small, do not hesitate to get in touch with your buddy/mentor, or one of the coordinators. You can also approach anyone in or outside the group who you think would be understanding.
Remember to keep the personal details of the person you are visiting anonymous (see below).
Please also see the SDS online Resouce Drive for self-help resources that contain tips of how to deal with the kinds of issues that can come up during visiting.
Most importantly, though, please ask for support if you feel it would be helpful.