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Talk to us #WeListen – The Samaritans - July 2021.

THEIR VISION is that fewer people die by suicide.
THEIR MISSION is to make sure there is always someone there for anyone that needs someone and to give people ways to cope and the skills to be there for others.
THEIR CHALLENGE set to the whole of the UK is to become better listeners.

Every year in July the Samaritans 201 branches all over the UK and the Republic of Ireland host local events to raise awareness that they are there to listen to anyone and everyone who is struggling to cope at any time of the day or night.

Samaritans Logo

Everyday the Samaritans answer calls to around 10,000 people calling for help. The volunteers behind the phone will talk to anyone who is struggling to cope and will listen without judgement or pressure. They are currently working with schools, hospitals, prisons and the rail network to support people through difficult times and training more and more people to do the same aiming to prevent the crisis moments which drive people to suicide by offering support and guidance along their journey!

In 2020 more than 20,000 people volunteered their time for the Samaritans, with over 16,200 trained listening volunteers responding to calls for help. Over 3,200 volunteers supported the running of branches and over 1,000 prisoners volunteering as trained listeners!

The Samaritans have 5 core values:

  • Listening - exploring feelings alleviates distress and helps people to reach a better understanding of their situation and options open to them.

  • Confidentiality - If people feel safe, they are more likely to open up about their feelings.

  • Non-Judgemental - We want people to be able to talk to us without fear of prejudice or rejection. People making their own decisions wherever possible.

  • People making their own decisions - We believe that people have the right to find their own solution and that telling people what to do takes responsibility away from them.

  • Human contact - Giving people time, undivided attention and empathy meets a fundamental emotional need and reduces distress and despair.

Data collected by the office of national statistics showed that between July 2020 and September 2020 there were 10.7 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in England that is the equivalent of 1,334 deaths registered. With the impact the pandemic is having on people’s mental health we should be alarmed that the suicide rate has risen, and we need to do all we can to stop that.

Although there is no direct link between suicide and the pandemic the Samaritans have found that it has exacerbated known risk factors for already vulnerable people. Volunteers on the phones have been reporting that people have been worried about losing their jobs and finances, with common themes around not being able to pay rent/mortgage bills, inability to support family and losing their homes. It is important that with an increased outcry for help that organisations like the Samaritans have all the help and resources they need to provide support to those who need it most!

One of the many events being hosted is the “Samarathon”. Run, jog, or walk 26.2 miles wherever and whenever you like at your own pace and in your own time. This is a sponsored event to raise for the Samaritans to continue service for those in need. While on the 24th July they are running "The big listen" which will be a 24 hour event!

The Samaritans campaigned for all local authorities to have a suicide prevention plan in place but until now no-one has know what the plans were. They have a full report in partnership with the University of Exeter with some of the key findings being:

  • Reducing suicide risk in men - This was included in 97% of local authority plans and 70% were delivering action.

  • Children and young people - This was included in 92% of local authority with 80% delivering action.

Overall the findings were that a good start had been made in suicide prevention planning so the message is coming across loud and clear!


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