Samaritans launches ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign

Samaritans have launched a new campaign ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ aimed at preventing deaths by suicide through talking.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 9:50 am

After an incredibly tough year and as the nation begins to re-adjust to life without pandemic restrictions, the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ campaign reminds the public they already have the skills to start a conversation with someone who may need help, giving them the confidence to act.

Samaritans point out that, by trusting our instincts, if something doesn’t feel right, a little small talk and a simple question, such as “Hello, what’s the time?” can be all it takes to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and help set them on the journey to recovery.

Marie, the Director of Ballymena Samaritans said: “The COVID pandemic has led to a number of challenges which have never been faced before and everyone has had to find a way to cope, at times, on their own.

A Samaritans listening volunteer (submitted image)

“Unfortunately suicide is still, by some people or cultures, stigmatized and condemned for religious or cultural reasons. Suicide is therefore often a secretive act surrounded by taboo. Stigma, particularly surrounding mental health disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and are therefore not getting the help they need. The prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to a lack of awareness of suicide and the taboo in many societies to openly discuss it.

“Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important to allow everyone to make progress in preventing suicide. We all have to work together to reduce the number of deaths by suicide.”

“Volunteers with Samaritans understand the stigma surrounding suicide and how difficult it can be to discuss your thoughts and feelings. Our aim is to prevent deaths by suicide through talking about your feelings in a safe and non-judgemental space. We will not rush you but will encourage and support you while you explore all the options available to you.

“You do not need to give your ‘real’ name and whatever you discuss is treated as confidential.

“A volunteer is always available and can be contacted FREE on 116 123 – this number does not appear on your phone bill or, if you prefer, you can email [email protected] - in the small hours or the middle of the night, any day of the year you will be supported whenever you need someone.”