Samaritans marks July 24 each year to highlight that Samaritan volunteers are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and each day of the year.
This year, the organisation is highlighting the importance of talking as a measure to lessen stresses and problems that can contribute to poor mental health.
Speaking at the Athlone launch on Wednesday last, Teresa Bell, Director of Athlone Midlands Samaritans, said: “Part of our message today is to let people know that Samaritans is here for anyone who wants to talk. People don’t have to be suicidal in order to make contact with us. It’s important that people talk about their problems and when things are getting them down.
“In particularly, we’re sending a message to men that they should not hide their feelings or be reluctant to talk about problems. By ignoring problems or not talking about them, the burden can increase and lead to much greater mental health problems, including a risk of suicide.
“Samaritans provide a safe space for people to talk, and we’re available around the clock, every day of the year. Our services are highly professionalised but – unlike so many big, national organisations – they are delivered entirely by volunteers. Our volunteers undertake extensive training before they are permitted to take calls or meet with people who require emotional support. Following initial training, each one of the 2,000 volunteers around the country commits to providing a minimum number of volunteer hours each month, and they must take part in continuous training.
“The ‘24/7Talk to Us’ campaign offers an opportunity to recognise the huge commitment that our volunteers make. It also gives the public an opportunity to understand that our volunteers come from all walks of life; are all ages; and live in different parts of the country,” said the Director
Volunteers from Athlone Samaritans were on hand at the Golden Island Shopping Centre in Athlone on Wednesday to highlight the importance of talking about issues or situations in our lives in order to alleviate worries or feelings of distress and despair.
Samaritans is a 24 hour confidential, non- judgemental service. Samaritans can be contacted by phone on 1850 609090 and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org People are welcome to call in to Athlone Midlands Samaritans at 3 Court Devenish between 2.30pm and 10pm Monday to Saturday.