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Offering emotional support

Emotional support means offering a listening ear and empathy in response to feelings expressed by a person affected by MS.

Only Lead Support Volunteers and Support Volunteers who have completed Support Volunteer Training must be allowed to offer emotional support on our behalf.

See Group Handbook D1: Offering MS Support

Emotional support may be offered by phone or email, at a group event, or face to face.

  1. Being easy to contact by phone or email
  2. At a group activity or social event
  3. Face to face at a pre-arranged meeting
  4. Emotional support boundaries
  5. Need support?

Being easy to contact by phone and email

Being easy to contact is a requirement for all groups that handle money and provide services and activities.

  1. Learn more about Our group requirements


People expect to be able to contact your MS Support service by phone. We want you to agree set hours when a Lead/Support Volunteer will be available to take calls.

We recommend that your Coordinating Team purchases a dedicated landline or mobile phone for making and receiving MS Support calls on our behalf.

  1. Go to Managing your finances for guidance on purchasing equipment for your group.


Being easy to contact by email has become an important way to support people affected by MS.

If you offer MS Support, we want you to use your group’s dedicated [email protected] account to send and receive emails on our behalf.

  1. Find out more about Using MS Society email


Supporting people to attend activities and events

Our Lead/Support Volunteers encourage people to access group activities and social events. This could mean reassuring the person that a named volunteer will be there with them, the first time they come along.

Including everyone

We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. We expect our groups to include all people affected by MS and not discriminate against anyone when providing services.

  1. Learn about our Equality, diversity and inclusion values


Face to face support

Your MS Support service may offer pre-arranged meetings for people affected by MS in public places, hospitals or residential care settings.

We don’t expect your Lead/Support Volunteers to offer regular ongoing visits, and you must not provide any of these services on our behalf:

  • Shopping
  • Gardening
  • Meal preparation
  • Personal care
  • Replacement care
  • Companionship/friendship

Home visits

You may be asked to make home visits for people that are isolated. If home visiting is the only possible way to meet with someone, you must ensure that at least two people visit together.

  1. Find out more about our Lone volunteering policy and guidance


Emotional support boundaries

We provide training and ongoing support to enable your group to offer an MS Support service that is safe, accessible and impactful.

This includes understanding and holding the boundaries we have in place to protect everyone.

We don’t expect your MS Support service to provide the following types of emotional support, and you must not do so on our behalf:

  • Counselling
  • Befriending
  • Complex problem solving
  • Dealing with safeguarding concerns
  • High end emotional support for strong feelings of anger, sadness, happiness, worry, anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation

Keeping your personal information safe

We strongly recommend that you do not share your personal information – including home addresses, email addresses and phone numbers – anywhere in print, online, or in email communications.

This ensures your safety and security, both during and after your time volunteering with us. It also makes it easy to transfer responsibility for a contact method if someone is away, or steps down.


Need support?

You support people affected by MS, but who supports you?

We do - with practical, emotional and peer support options, access to our specialist signposting database, regular knowledge updates and key MS Support resources.

  1. Find out how we Support your team

MS Helpline

We recognise that you may experience emotional situations that go beyond the boundaries of MS Support. When this happens, we want you to signpost the person to an appropriate specialist service, such as our MS Helpline, The Samaritans or local counselling.

Our MS Helpline is also available to all volunteers for emotional support to manage the effects of helping others on your own wellbeing.

MS Helpline
Tel: 0808 800 8000
Email: [email protected]


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Offering support