IAN MAURER has volunteered with Jesuit Social Services since 2012. As a founder – and now facilitator – of Support After Suicide‘s men’s groups, he aims to enhance the family relationships of marginalised men. Ian also raises money for Support After Suicide with a weekly fundraising sausage sizzle in Eaglemont. In this Q&A, he talks with fellow volunteer RYAN FONG about the need to come together to address the issue of suicide.
What motivated you to volunteer with Support After Suicide?
I have been participating in volunteering for as long as I can remember. It is an ethos within our family understanding.
Following the suicide of a family member, my life was changed forever. We are grateful for the tremendous support and care we receive from both the staff at Jesuit Social Services and others who were bereaved by suicide of their loved ones.
In return, I want to be able to help others in life through providing support in whatever form.
What’s been most memorable about volunteering with Support After Suicide?
Being part of the founding committee of the Richmond Men’s Group was one of my most memorable experience with Jesuit Social Services. As the first guest speaker of the Richmond Men’s Group, I am thrilled to see how it has become a life-changing and even life-saving experience for many participants.
I’ve witnessed men, who are crushed and broken by suicide, proactively resurrect their self-esteem and well-being through discussion and inclusion.
I feel humble to be part of this support group in which non-judgmental, caring and trust relationships are forged to support one another during the most harrowing time in their lives.
I’m glad that the Men’s Group was able to release a publication, The Cost of Silence, which featured contributions by men who have lost someone to suicide. This experience let participants reflect on their experience and express themselves in the context of their transformation as individuals.
Finally, at a conference in Frankston last year, I spoke about the act of suicide being a multi-faceted concern in our community, and the importance of developing means to reduce the number of suicide incidents and to support those who have lost their loved ones to suicide. I hope that the audience absorbed the message and shared their personal experience with others, so that we as a community can collectively address the issue of suicide.
What would you say to someone who’s thinking of volunteering with Jesuit Social Services?
Volunteering leads to life-changing experience, for you and the people you engage with.
Through my connection with Jesuit Social Services, I’ve gained plenty of friendships and experienced immense support and loving care.
I feel privileged to be able to talk to people who are suffering from sadness and loss in life and give comfort through spending time with them.