Samaritans Ireland has launched a new five-year national plan which aims to ensure fewer lives are lost to suicide across the island of Ireland.
The Strategic Delivery Plan for Ireland 2022-2027 –Tackling Suicide Together: providing a safe place in uncertain times – was launched by Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD.
At the launch of the plan, Niall Mulligan, Executive Director for Samaritans Ireland, paid tribute to the 2,000 Samaritans volunteers in 21 branches who answer up to half a million calls for help each year from people struggling to cope.
He said: “Our listening service has been at the core of Samaritans' work for over 60 years, always offering a trusted space for those who need us. Because of the remarkable commitment of our volunteers and staff, we keep our helpline services open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
“We know that poverty, isolation, loneliness, discrimination, and at times the denial of people’s basic human rights are factors which fuel poor mental health outcomes in Ireland, impacting in particular on vulnerable and marginalised communities and people. Over the lifetime of this plan, Samaritans Ireland will be there to support these communities where we can and speak out on these issues when we can.”
In its strategic plan, Samaritans will focus on six priority areas:
- Access: make it easier for people to access support when they need it.
- Reach: increase the proportion of people we support who are more likely to be feeling suicidal.
- Impact: amplify our life-saving impact in society, by influencing public policy, legislation, institutions, and services.
- Capacity: increase in size to meet demand, by recruiting more volunteers and reducing the pressure on them.
- Sustainability: ensure our long-term sustainability, by securing the funding needed to keep us strong.
- Governance: maintain a highly effective and professional organisation.
Samaritans Ireland hopes to grow its volunteer base, while working collaboratively with funders, mental health partners and other key groups, including those with lived experiences, who have been impacted by suicide and self-harm, to influence local and national structural change.
Eleanor Farrell, chair of Samaritans Ireland Board, said: “Our goal is to ensure fewer lives are lost to suicide. We aim to achieve this by always being there to listen, by bringing evidence and an experienced voice to suicide prevention, by challenging inequity, and by working hand in hand with people who need us every step of the way.
“In developing this ambitious plan, we have worked closely with people who have contacted Samaritans, people who have been affected by suicide or suicidal thoughts, and those who volunteer and work with us or support us.”
Minister Butler acknowledged the work by Samaritans Ireland and its volunteers, thanking them for the ongoing support they give others when they need it most.
‘’I am delighted to launch the new five-year strategy for Samaritans Ireland. The organisation answers approximately half a million calls and emails a year, putting its callers and those who are struggling to cope or living in isolation at the heart of all they do.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the development of the Strategic Delivery Plan. It involved an enormous amount of work and dedication. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of Samaritans’ volunteers. It is thanks to your hard work that Samaritans continues to provide its live saving services.
“The plan neatly aligns and complements the Government policy as outlined in Sharing the Vision and Connecting for Live. I am confident that Samaritans Ireland will continue to support us in achieving our shared goals of enhancing our mental health services and ensuring fewer lives are lost to suicide in Ireland. I look forward to seeing the benefits this plan will bring about for people with mental health difficulties over the next five years.’’
The Strategic Delivery Plan for Ireland should be read alongside wider Samaritans five-year strategy, which set out the long-term direction for the organisation as a whole across Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales.
For more information, please contact Sarah Stack, Communication & Policy Manager at Samaritans Ireland on: [email protected] or mobile 085 860 5554.
Note to editors:
- Anyone can contact Samaritans for free any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or email [email protected] or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.
- Samaritans’ 2,000 volunteers across Ireland & Northern Ireland answer approximately half a million calls and emails each year.
- Due to the proven link between certain types of media reporting of suicide and increases in suicide rates, please be mindful of Samaritans’ Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide
- For latest official statistics on suicide visit HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention: NOSP Briefing on Suicide Figures (Note: will update if new figures released next week.)
- Samaritans Ireland is supported by the HSE’s National Office of Suicide Prevention (NOSP).
- Photography available from Julien Behal photography.