In June this year, we were invited by Lawrence Mannion, Support Hub Manager for Help for Heroes at Phoenix House, Catterick Garrison to give a talk about Samaritans’ service to the Welfare Workers as well as to ‘Hidden Wounds’ and ‘Step by Step’ personnel. These organisations are also based within Phoenix House.
All of these people work with serving and ex-serving personnel, who have been physically or mentally affected, or both, during their Army career. They have on-going training within the Army environment so to be asked to talk about what Samaritans offer was a huge honour.
Our talk focused on the new national initiative, Samaritans Military Programme, aimed at veterans, serving personnel and their families. We provided copies of the new Samaritans guide, written in conjunction with the Military, The Suicide Prevention and Peer Support Guide. This guide will be given to everyone in the RAF, Navy and Army.
We also mentioned the Armed Forces Webchat, an internationally available online forum for serving personnel, due to come online in May 2019. This will mean that wherever the military are, they will be able to access the resource.
We shared information about the two new national training initiatives that are being developed: training the Army Learning and Development Team and workshops, and a pilot workshop scheme entitled ‘Support the Supporter’ (available from next year). These workshops are aimed at those people who unofficially support serving personnel.
We are very grateful to our volunteer, Pauline (pictured above, with the iconic 'Help for Heroes' sculpture, The Road to Recovery - inscription shown below ) who organised and spoke at the meeting.
The feedback was very positive and we hope to be able to revisit as more information about the Samaritans Military Programme becomes available.