Press release: Samaritans launches new strategy to reduce suicide in Wales

Yesterday, Minister for Health and Social Services, Edwina Hart AM launched Samaritans’ new five-year strategy for Wales at The Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay.

The charity’s new plan arrives as budget cuts lie ahead and unemployment in Wales is predicted to rise. Within the time span of the strategy, approximately 40,000 additional people could experience job loss across Wales by 2015(1,2).

Those who are unemployed are 2-3 times more likely to die by suicide than people in employment(3). The fear of unemployment can also be bad for mental health and increase the risk of suicide. In the new strategy, Samaritans makes a commitment to develop its work across Wales and create further awareness of its 24/7 service amongst people living in social or economic deprivation – who are at increased risk of suicide.

Speaking at the launch, Edwina Hart AM said: “We are facing harsh times, which will have a considerable impact on both individuals and families. Over the next few years, there will be increased pressure placed on mental health services, so Samaritans’ support will be welcome.  We are pleased to be working with the Samaritans’ to deliver on our suicide prevention strategy, Talk to me.”

Hosting the launch, Ann Jones AM said: ““I thank the charity for all their hard work and for being here at a particularly difficult time, as we feel the impact of the recession. I can express the work of Samaritans best by quoting an individual who called them: ‘If they hadn’t helped me, I probably wouldn’t be here today’.”

Catherine Johnstone, Samaritans’ Chief Executive said: Now more than ever, it is vital that we reach out to people in distress and at risk of suicide.

“We want to encourage people to talk about their problems and to call Samaritans if they feel they have nowhere else to turn to. Not only this but, we want to help people learn to recognise when someone is distressed, be they a patient, a work colleague or a neighbour, and feel confident to direct them to a support service like Samaritans.”

Simon Hatch, Director for Wales said: “Our 9 branches and 550 volunteers across Wales gives us the capacity  to work with health care services and other voluntary organisations to raise awareness of the issue of suicide and of Samaritans’ helpline services in local communities.

Margaret Buckingham, Samaritans’ volunteer and director of Swansea branch said: “I have often been asked: ‘Why did you become a Samaritans’ volunteer?’ My answer is simple. I think life is precious. Nearly 300 people take their own lives in Wales each year – that’s a tragedy that can be avoided if people get the right support.”
 
Download the Samaritans’ new strategy: “Taking the lead to reduce suicide in Wales. A strategy for 2010-2015” - English Language (PDF)

Download the Samaritans’ new strategy: “Taking the lead to reduce suicide in Wales. A strategy for 2010-2015” - Welsh Language (PDF)

 

Images from the launch event:

Image 1: Left-right: Edwina Hart AM, two Samaritans’ volunteers and Ann Jones AM

Edwina Hart AM, two Samaritans’ volunteers and Ann Jones AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image 2: Left-right: Samaritans’ director for Wales, Simon Hatch and Edwina Hart AM

Samaritans’ director for Wales, Simon Hatch and Edwina Hart AM
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Samaritans’ spokesperson please contact press@samaritans.org.
 

Notes to Editors

  1. Welsh Assembly Government (2010). Statistical Bulletin: Key Economic Statistic – October 2010. Available at http://wales.gov.uk/docs/statistics/2010/101015sb862010en.pdf (accessed on 5 Nov 2010).
  2. Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). News Release 31 August 2010. Availalble at http://www.cebr.com/wp-content/uploads/UK-Regional-Prospects-Press-Relea... (Accessed on 5 Nov 2010).
  3. Platt, S., Suicide and work, in Suicide in Specific Populations. 2003, Psychiatry. Copyright 2003 The Medicine Publishing Company. p. 25-28.
     

About Samaritans

For people experiencing emotional distress and struggling to cope, our volunteers are there 24/7 to offer confidential, non-judgmental support to anyone experiencing emotional distress and suicidal feelings, by phone: 08457 90 90 90, email: jo@samaritans.org, or face-to-face: visit samaritans.org/ for details of your local branch.