Written 8th September 2021 by Michael Ledden, Chairperson, PsyCare Ireland.
One of the most beautiful things I saw while volunteering with PsyCare UK was the human care and values that each volunteer brought to each scenario.
The most important thing that each volunteer had to offer wasn’t their professional qualifications.
In the application process it was stressed that what was far more important than qualifications was that they themselves had had a difficult drug experience.
The love, care and empathy of all the volunteers was the medicine on offer: a calm, non-judgmental, supportive, loving presence.
The most extreme case I worked with over the weekend was with a festival goer having a difficult polly-drug experience: when we arrived to help the person was surrounded by the festival security, in handcuffs awaiting the police to come to take them away.
The security I have to say were brilliant, and they had person handcuffed for their own safety while waiting for the police and ambulance to come to check them over.
Although as PsyCarers we were powerless to affect what had already happened in the arena, I experienced first-hand the power of lovingly offering someone distressed on psychedelics presence, attention and soft eye contact.
Although this festival goer was unable to understand what was going on, by giving them presence and love in this extreme situation they were able to calm down until the point the drugs effects wore off.
Miraculously in the end they were allowed to come to PsyCare for chats and integration instead of being arrested.
In Ireland right now, I do believe that without a PsyCare service at our festivals with trained volunteers, the outcome for someone in a similar situation would be different.
The love and understanding a PsyCare site and team brings not only changes a festival's vibe? but can also change lives.
By Michael Ledden - Chairperson PsyCare Ireland.