We would expect everyone to be affected in some way by the awful conditions, circumstances and injustices of the camps. We are all likely to experience a whole range of emotions in response. For those working in the camps returning home can be difficult and bring on feelings of guilt, anxiety about people left behind and a sense of separation from friends and family in the UK who have not shared the same experience. There can be “reverse culture shock”. All of these experiences and many others are usual although they can be experienced in a range of ways by field workers.
Many of the camp volunteers are linked to quite small and widely stretched organisations that may lack resources to provide ongoing support or debriefing to staff. It can be difficult for camp volunteers to discuss some of these ranges of experiences whilst still with their teams on the ground.
Our hope is that by providing a safe and separate conversation with a SSuN buddy either whilst still at the camp or once home, this can help normalise some of these experiences and provide a chance to reflect and be heard. Perhaps helping to guard against burnout, hopelessness or worries about disclosing too much information to close team members.