Samaritans partner with North Essex NHS Trust to offer specialist support for people struggling to cope

The official launch of Samaritans’ ground-breaking partnership with North Essex Partnership University Foundation Trust (NEP) took place at the House of Commons last night.

Set to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, Samaritans will work with the NHS Foundation Trust on a referral basis to provide support for vulnerable residents and patients in north Essex, Suffolk and Thurrock.

Three Samaritans branches in Chelmsford, Colchester and Ware will manage referrals from NEP through a special telephone service based at each of the three branches. The intention is for the referral scheme to also be rolled out to include GPs in North Essex in the future. Samaritans will only telephone people who have been referred to them if they consent to being contacted. The content of calls will be confidential.

The partnership between Samaritans and NEP will offer vital help for people experiencing mental illness and support the Government’s National Suicide Prevention Strategy which aims to reduce the number of suicides in England.

Speaking at the launch of the partnership at the House of Commons, Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care Services, said: “This partnership is an excellent idea, and I urge more NHS organisations to work with Samaritans to tackle such a crucial issue.

“I am determined to improve mental health care so that fewer lives are so tragically lost to suicide. That’s why we continue to deliver our Suicide Prevention Strategy so that people at risk, and their loved ones, get the support they need. There is nothing more important than this.”

Samaritans will also offer training to staff at the Trust so they can better manage vulnerable patients effectively, sensitively and professionally. Samaritans will support the Trust in emergency situations as part of the partnership.

Samaritans Chief Executive, Catherine Johnstone, said:  “Samaritans has a long-standing relationship with the health service both nationally and locally to support people who are struggling to cope.

“We believe that our partnership with NEP will be of great benefit to health professionals and to people struggling to cope including those experiencing suicidal feelings.

 “Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year and will be able to offer valuable support to the Trust.”

Andrew Geldard, Chief Executive at North Essex Partnership said; “Working in partnership is at the core of our values and we welcome this fantastic opportunity to work with Samaritans who are well known for helping people in times of crisis. We welcome their experience and expertise which will be immensely beneficial to our service users.”

For more information or for interview requests, please contact the Samaritans press office on: 020 8394 8348 or

North Essex Partnership Press Office Contact: Ian C-Thorpe, 01245 546 446 or 07986 922 355. You can also email:

Notes to editors:

  • Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year. We provide a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them. Please call 116 123, email, or visit to find details of the nearest branch.
  • The three Samaritans branches involved in the partnership with NEP are:

Chelmsford and Mid Essex Samaritans

Colchester, Tendring and Suffolk Borders Samaritans

Herts and Essex (Ware) Samaritans

  • North Essex Partnership provides mental health, substance misuse and social care services and support for over 17,000 people and their families in north Essex and Suffolk and GP services in Thurrock.