Hopefully most people will have heard of Samaritans, the emotional support charity.
The Leicester Branch deals with callers mostly from Leicester and Leicestershire and since opening 49 years ago, we have never closed.
Over the Christmas period volunteers (who come from all walks of life) will give up a few hours of their time to lend an ear to those that aren’t, for whatever reason, in the festive spirit.
Officially there are around 6000 suicides each year in the UK, though in all probability there are a lot more deaths not recorded as such; every 20 minutes someone feels so bad about their life that they try to end it.
For most of us difficulties will have arisen in 2009 and, indeed, we may know of some that lie ahead.
Some problems take it out of us more than others, some ‘storms’ we weather better than others.
When things get on top of us we like to think that we can call on support from family and/or friends.
Sometimes support is found in unexpected quarters. As individuals we all react differently to our problems and usually manage to “soldier on”.
More often than not we can sort out everybody else’s problems better than our own which we may struggle with, finding it difficult to find a way forward. We often receive well meaning but conflicting advice from one person or another.
Very occasionally we may feel “what’s the point” or “why do I bother” and imagine the world without us and would it matter, “would anyone be bothered “if I wasn’t here”? Negative thoughts can trouble us.
We can think of acting on them and actually doing so being careless as to whether we live or die.
There may have been and/or continues to be relationship difficulties.
Some kind of loss, such as bereavement may have occurred.
Work or college/study related stress or indeed problems finding work.
New or ongoing physical or mental health problems. Physical, emotional or sexual abuse may have happened or be continuing.
Given the financial climate, money worries may seem insurmountable. Then there is loneliness at a time when so many other people seem to be out partying.
In our daily lives we often encounter a combination of stressful hurdles to overcome, just simply to get by.
The festive period is a contrasting time for people as mirrored in popular songs; for some they will be “rocking around the Christmas Tree”, for others “it’ll be lonely this Christmas”.
The year’s end is often a time for reflection. For some, life changing events have taken place in the last twelve months, whereas for others nothing much has changed which may in itself be a problem.
We can sometimes feel unsupported by those close to us or maybe it is those very people that are in fact the problem. Perhaps we feel unable to turn to anyone for guidance or indeed feel that there is no one to turn to
Bottling up all of those negative emotions rarely helps and usually it makes matters worse and can, at times, lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed.
Samaritans are available 24/7, even over the holiday period.
We might be the glue that holds things together, a safety net when other sources of help are not available. We believe that being listened to, in confidence and non-judgmentally, can alleviate feelings of distress, including those which may lead to suicide.
We do not have a magic wand to sort out everyone’s problems but if you feel that you have hit an emotional brick wall then please do not bottle it up, instead contact us by phone or send an email or text.
As the tv add used to say “its good to talk”. As a Samaritan I believe that talking (even to a complete stranger) can help you to find a way forward even if that means simply finding the strength to face just one more day.
Undoubtedly life is fragile yet Samaritans can help you to not only start picking up the pieces in yours but also, hopefully, to make some sense of it.
We are available 24/7 simply because we don’t know when people like you might need us. No problem is too small – you don’t have to be reaching for the pills or razor blades to call us. In fact, we would prefer that you contacted us before you got to that stage. It’s good to talk things over rather than bottling them up.
The suicide statistics for the UK are frighteningly high.
Most of us know of someone who has taken their own life or of people blighted by the suicide of a family member or friend.
Before doing a shift, Samaritan volunteers do not go into a telephone box, twirl around and become some sort of type of superhero, they are ordinary people from all walks of life committed to the cause of seeing fewer suicides and alleviating emotional distress.
If interested in becoming a volunteer, go to the website www.samaritans.org and click on the link and, remember, one click could save a life.
For support ring: 0845 790 9090 or text 0772 590 9090
or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org