Samaritans Awareness Day will take place this month to increase knowledge of the help offered by the charity
The Samaritans annual awareness campaign is taking place this July – nearly 70 years after the anniversary of the charity’s founding.
Samaritans Awareness Day is staged on July 24 to reinforce the message that volunteers are ready to listen 24/7.
The Talk to Us campaign takes place throughout the month to let people know they can get help if they need someone to share their problems with. Branches in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will be holding local events to raise awareness of the fact that they are there to offer a listening ear to anyone who is struggling to cope.
Who can contact Samaritans?
People contact Samaritans with a whole range of problems – and volunteers are there to listen to anyone who feels they need extra support, whether the problem is new or longstanding.
Issues include – but are not limited to – relationship and family problems, loss and bereavement, financial worries, loneliness and isolation, depression, painful and/or disabling physical illness, problematic alcohol and drug use, and suicidal thoughts.
Some of those seeking help do not have family or friends they can turn to. Others prefer to talk to someone neutral rather than someone they know.
Research has shown that older people and people with disabilities are more at risk of loneliness and depression.
In its report, Disability, well-being and loneliness, UK:2019, the Office for National Statistics showed that average anxiety ratings were higher for disabled people, at 4.27 out of 10, compared with 2.66 out of 10 for non-disabled people.
The report said the proportion of disabled people (13.3%) who report feeling lonely “often or always” was almost four times that of non-disabled people (3.4%), with the greatest disparity among young adults.
It also showed lower well-being levels among disabled adults. In the year ending June 2019 the mean score for happiness yesterday was 6.54 out of 10 for disabled people, compared with 7.71 for non-disabled people. The life satisfaction score was 6.68 out of 10 for disabled people, compared with 7.90 for non-disabled people.
The elderly are also at increased risk for loneliness and social isolation according to a number of reports.
How you can get involved
If you’d like to help raise awareness for #TalkToUs and #SamaritansAwarenessDay you can support them on social media by sharing downloadable social media assets during July. Printed materials, such as leaflets and posters can also be ordered from the charity. Visit https://www.samaritans.org/ to find out more about the charity and how you can get involved.
Anyone who needs help can contact Samaritans on 116 123.
The Organisation’s history
Samaritans was founded in 1953 by a vicar called Chad Varah in order to help people who were contemplating suicide.
The brand new helpline was launched on November 2, 1953, and was described by its founder as just “a man willing to listen, with a base and an emergency telephone”. Today the charity has more than 22,000 volunteers.
The organisation gained its name just a month after it was launched when an article in the Daily Mirror used the term “Telephone Good Samaritan”.
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