Bromley and Orpington Samaritans speak up for World Suicide Prevention Day
PUBLISHED: 13:09 06 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:09 06 September 2013
Volunteers at Bromley Samaritans put in thousands of man hours every year supporting people who have been affected by, or are thinking of, suicide, as well as victims of unemployment, mental health problems and relationship breakdowns.
In 2012 the branch was contacted 22,831 times for help via calls, texts, email and face-to-face visits.
And its latest figures show there were 22 deaths by suicide in both 2011 and 2010, an increase on 2009’s figure of 15.
The information comes as the Samaritans renews its campaign to tackle suicides ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday.
The awareness day, which is backed by the Samaritans, will be highlighting suicide prevention while giving advice and signposting organisations that can help.
It will also tackle the stigma surrounding those who take their own lives, an issue the group is focusing on as part of the campaign.
John Corrish, director of Samaritans in Bromley and Orpington, said: “Our biggest outreach projects are in prisons – Belmarsh, Isis and Thameside. We go in there and train prisoners to be listeners.
“They can phone us if they want to. The listeners are there for people who can feel suicidal, particularly the ones who have just arrived.
We also provide support in schools if people have been affected by suicides.
“One of the main concerns we have come across are websites that people can visit which encourage them to commit suicide. There is an increasing trend. And we have calls about online bullying.
“We have been into sixth forms and get them to answer questions, and do get some follow-ups afterwards.
Some people call us regularly and some just once.
“We will see some changes in what we provide this year by moving into texting.
Some younger people tend to text more than they speak on the phone.
“We will have to be trained to support in that way and to be able to reply with only a certain number of characters.
“We see a complete range of issues, from people with suicidal feelings, to those about to commit suicide.
They call because they don’t know how to talk their issues through.”
You can visit Bromley and Orpington Samaritans at 9b Station Road, Orpington, BR6 0RZ, or call 01689 833000.