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Maytree is a respite centre, located in the London Borough of Islington, England, for people who are feeling suicidal. It is a charitable organisation that opened in October 2002. It is located in a terraced house in north London, and provides a one-off stay of four nights for up to four guests at a time.
Aims and objectives
Maytree's aims are to assist people who want to commit suicide. It provides a non medical environment where people who are feeling suicidal can rest, reflect and talk confidentially. The idea behind Maytree is that people who are in a suicidal crisis are able to come to a place where they can feel safe and secure, but also a place where they can talk through their problems. Maytree is a registered charity and provides this service at no cost. Maytree is intended to help those in a one-off suicidal crisis, as well as those that have longer term mental health problems. It's overall goal is to reduce suicide ideation.
How Maytree works
The Maytree model to suicide prevention is a therapeutic approach, is based on the principle of befriending.
The concept of befriending, a term originally used by The Samaritans, is a process based on a relationship of compassion and trust to facilitate changes in thoughts, feelings, understanding, intentions and actions that may lead to suicide.
Befriending intends to enable another person to feel heard and valued. Ideally, the befriender discards assumptions, offers unconditional acceptance, compassion, empathy and concern, whilst respecting and encouraging the other's autonomy and sense of equality. The essence of befriending is the giving of undivided attention to the other, tuning in and connecting to mood and feelings, assimilating consciously and intuitively every aspect of the others presence.
Assessment of Suitability
All potential guests are assessed before an offer of stay is made. The process of assessment begins at the first contact, via an agency or a self-referral. Maytree accepts referrals from GPs, hospitals, psychotherapists, counsellors, friends, family and self-referrals, nationwide.
Characteristics of Maytree Guests
Maytree has had 300 guests in the period up to January 2007, the majority from London, but also from all over England.