Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Student Volunteering Week 2018 - Jonathan's story

This week is Student Volunteering Week!

Jonathan, one of our dedicated Helpline Volunteers tells us about how their role on the Helpline has led them to studying towards a postgraduate MA in psychotherapy and counselling at university.

I've been a volunteer on the Missing People helpline for just over nine years now. For the past three of these years this volunteering has coincided with me studying towards a postgraduate MA in psychotherapy and counselling at Regent's University London.

Training to become a counsellor certainly hadn't been my original chosen career path when I first started out at Missing People. In fact I was initially drawn to volunteering at Missing People with intention of using the experience to further my prospects of joining the police force! Whilst I did eventually succeed in being a volunteer special constable for nearly five years, I opted against a full time career in the police. Instead I decided to put my invaluable skills picked up the helpline to use in studying to become a psychotherapist.

As many people who have gone through training in psychotherapy and counselling can probably attest to it can be both rewarding but also highly challenging. I'm not sure I would have had the confidence to take on such a challenge without the opportunities afforded to me as a volunteer at Missing People. My ongoing volunteering here has certainly fed into the skills developed during my studies. These include being able to listen intently whilst also hopefully displaying the natural warmth and empathy that the charity seems to radiate.

I now put these skills to further use in the two counselling placements I'm also currently volunteering at. It is sometimes a struggle to juggle all these commitments, whilst also trying hard not to ignore an impending dissertation deadline! Nevertheless, having recently been given the opportunity to mentor new volunteers on the helpline I feel I still have plenty of energy left to give.

I feel immensely fortunate to continue to be part of a team at Missing People, which reaches out to support those affected by a variety of issues. This view has only been reinforced by my time studying an MA in psychotherapy and counselling. These two parts of my life seem to complement each other perfectly.

Without the support of our Helpline Volunteers, we would struggle to provide the services we do. We’re currently recruiting for Helpline Volunteers for weekend shifts so if you’re interested, please feel free to contact us on or call us on 0208 392 4590. Alternatively, visit our website

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Someone is reported missing every 90 seconds in the UK. The Missing Blog aims to give a voice to all those affected by this issue.

Written by families and friends of missing people, supporters working to raise awareness of the cause, and volunteers and staff at the charity Missing People, we hope that this blog will offer a window into the issue of missing.

The charity Missing People is a lifeline when someone disappears. To find out more about Missing People and ways that you can support the charity visit

Call or text the charity Missing People for free on 116 000, 24/7 if you or anyone you know is affected by a disappearance.