Samaritans in Ireland is encouraging people to become better listeners so they can support friends and family who may be struggling as coronavirus restrictions ease.
The charity’s ‘Talk to Us’ awareness campaign has been running throughout July up to its national awareness day on 24/7. The date depicts how Samaritans is there for everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on freephone 116 123.
Branches across the country are also holding a series of (covid compliant) events during the week, from 24-hour awareness walks in Waterford and Kilkenny, to placing stones painted with positive messages and Samaritans’ helpline number around Galway, and a partnership with Insomnia Coffee outlets in Dublin.
Due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions, usual awareness events in town centres and train stations have been suspended.
Rory Fitzgerald, Regional Director for Samaritans Ireland, said: “Samaritans volunteers have been there for others throughout the pandemic, and the challenges that many people have faced because of the pandemic are continuing and won’t necessarily ease with restrictions lifting.
“Other people may find returning to everyday life more challenging than others.
“Samaritans is encouraging people to offer a listening ear to anyone they’re concerned about.
The charity has designed a series of online cards for people to pledge to become better listeners by pledging to listen without being distracted, to listen without interrupting and to check in with loved ones.
Useful tips from starting up a conversation and how to actively listen, to supporting someone who is going through a difficult time are also available on its website.
Rory added: “Becoming a better listener can help you support loved ones who may be struggling to cope. It can also help improve your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
“Listening helps us build relationships, be there for others and it can save lives. It’s so important to reach out for a chat with someone you care about. Whether in person or virtually, it’s just about taking time to really listen to another person which can in turn help them work through what’s on their mind.”
For further information or to arrange an interview please contact Sarah Stack, Samaritans Ireland Communications and Policy Manager on [email protected] or 085 860 5554.
Notes to editors
- Samaritans is the only all Ireland 24-hour emotional support helpline, with over 2,000 volunteers in 21 branches answering over half a million calls/emails a year.
- Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show upon your phone bill. Or you can email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org.
- Every day, Samaritans volunteers in Ireland respond to around 1,500 calls for help.
- Details of Samaritans Branch events for Talk To Us are available on Samaritans Ireland and branch social media pages.
- You can follow Samaritans on social media on Twitter and Facebook.