Outreach is an activity providing services to populations who might not otherwise have access to those services. A key component of outreach is that the groups providing it are not stationary, but mobile; in other words they are meeting those in need of outreach services at the locations where those in need are (Wikipedia, 2014).
What do we do at the Chilterns Samaritans?
The most significant difference between our shifts at the branch and our Outreach activities is that we actively approach people. By asking them how they are or how they are feeling we enable people to share their feelings with us.
We regularly attend village fairs and markets in the region to raise awareness of our service and we frequently give talks to local businesses, schools and clubs.
Our aim is to raise awareness of our services in the local community. If you are interested in finding out what our outreach team can offer you or your organisation, I’d be very happy to discuss that with you.
Deputy Director Outward Focus
Our Mission Statement
- Be available 24 hours a day to provide emotional support for people who are experiencing feelings of emotional distress or despair, including those which may lead to suicide. We also support callers with mental health issues.
- Reach out to high risk groups and communities to reduce the risk of suicide.
- Work in partnership with other organisations, agencies and experts.
- Influence public policy and raise awareness of the challenges of reducing suicide.
Schools: Developing Emotional Awareness and Learning (DEAL)
Suicide forms a high proportion of all deaths among young people. On average, four young people aged 10-19 years die by suicide each week in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Many of these young people are in full time education.
- Promoting emotional health awareness and challenging stigma around emotional health problems
- Developing healthy coping skills
- Promoting knowledge of sources of support and improving attitudes to help seeking.
- Ensure school communities are equipped to respond effectively to an attempted or completed suicide
- Enable the school community to recover
- Prevent the formation of suicide clusters.
Samaritans are fully aware of the pressures young people face during their teenage years whether it is worrying about school work and exams; parental pressure; parents splitting up; sibling rivalry; experimenting with their own sexuality; drugs and alcohol consumption; self-harm. The list goes on.
These pressures can lead to feelings of low self-worth, depression, eating disorders, self-harm and ultimately suicidal feelings. This pressure can also have a major impact on teachers and support staff, who are faced with trying to guide the youngsters through their time of emotional distress.
- Posters and leaflets for display in common rooms and on notice boards
- Talking to pupils in a school assembly or in small groups.
- Supporting and enabling pupils to signpost friends and other pupils to our service.
- Provide staff with information or workshops.
Are you looking for a speaker to give a talk at your club or group? If so Samaritans would be happy to help. We can give a talk tailored to your needs about the work we do. We do not charge for this service but are always happy to receive a small donation to cover travel costs.
We believe that providing someone with the opportunity to frankly and honestly explore difficult feelings, without fear of judgement, can provide relief from distress. By helping people to understand their feelings and explore their options we enable them to find their own way forward without taking control away from them.
We often work with those who feel they cannot talk to anyone else - either because they don't have someone they trust or because they do not want to worry those around them.
Our phone, email, text and face-to-face support services are available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. This is important as it is often when most services are closed that people struggle to get support.
Improving understanding and reducing stigma
One thing that can stop someone coming forward and seeking help is the fear that they will be perceived as 'weak' or that people will think there is something 'wrong' with them. This is a case where stigma can literally kill.
We work with other agencies to try to improve people's understanding of emotional health. We do this through our work in schools, workplaces and the media.
What should I do if I know someone who is feeling suicidal?
Talking about feelings can make all the difference between choosing to live or die. Supporting someone in distress can be very difficult for you too. If you're helping someone who feels suicidal please take care of yourself as well.
If someone is talking about suicide always take it seriously. If you feel able to, offer support and encourage them to talk about how they're feeling. Ask direct questions and don't be afraid of frank discussions.
Ask the person how they are feeling and listen to the answer. Remember that it is difficult to support someone who is suicidal on your own. Encourage your friend to seek emotional support and talk to someone they trust - maybe friends, family, medical services, or Samaritans.