Maytree – a sanctuary for the suicidal is the only place of its kind in the UK and fills a gap in services between the medical support of the NHS and the helplines and drop-in centres of the voluntary sector. They offer a free 4-night stay and the opportunity to be befriended and heard in complete confidence, without judgement and with compassion and warmth.
It is an independent charity based in North London that provides a unique non-medical intervention for those at risk through suicidal thoughts and feelings. It can accommodate up to 4 guests at one time. They aim to create a calm and safe atmosphere in which people can find the time and space to rest, reflect and talk without pressure.
Common reasons for referral are – bereavement, relationship break down, depression, suicide of significant other, isolation, sexual abuse in childhood and enduring mental illness.
Here’s what some of the guests said:
‘Maytree changed my life in 4 days’
‘I felt more understood than at any time in my life’ ‘Maytree definitely saved my life’
‘I loved Maytree and I want to come back and be a volunteer’
‘I feel reborn, feel like a different person’
‘I am feeling surprisingly good – Maytree wouldn’t recognise me’ (at Maytree follow up call)
How does Maytree work?
“I was touched. It was a nice thing to do – someone asking hey, how are you, I was touched by that, especially when you have said you are going to kill yourself.”
Sounds really simple. Doesn’t it?
Being listened to in a non-judgemental way, being given time and space to talk and think.
I suppose there is potential for every home to be Maytree but right now there is only one.