Samaritans volunteers will be at Electric Picnic this weekend to offer emotional support to anyone in need.
Some 70,000 people from across the country are expected to attend the music and arts festival in Stradbally, Co Laois, following a two-year absence because of Covid restrictions, but for some the weekend may be challenging.
Others may also be feeling anxious or stressed over their Leaving Certificate results which will be released on Friday morning.
Volunteers from Samaritans Festival Branch will be available throughout the weekend to anyone who wants to talk and will have a base in the Jimi Hendrix campsite and, for the first time, in the main arena.
The dedicated team of volunteers attend approximately eight festivals each summer are specially trained to support anyone who may be struggling to cope.
Samaritan Festival Director Tony Leech believes this year more than ever it is important that people have a chance to talk about their feelings following the difficulties they may have had to cope with during the past two years.
“Events like Electric Picnic are designed to be enjoyable occasions. However, for some people it can be lonely and isolating to be in a festival atmosphere where they may be overwhelmed by feelings of loss and despair because of what may be happening or has happened in their lives,” said Tony.
“We know that many young people tend to bottle up their emotions, fearing they may be judged, be thought different or weak, be misunderstood or be ostracised. By being present at Electric Picnic, we want to give the message to anyone suffering feelings of despair that we are there to listen and to provide face to face support in a non-judgemental way.
“There is a saying ‘A burden shared is a burden halved’. As Samaritans, we know from experience that it is helpful to talk and to share feelings. We are trained to listen. We do not advise. We do not offer solutions. We give people time and space to talk, to express their feelings, and we help them to explore options in dealing with any issues facing them.
“We are delighted to have the support of the organisers of Electric Picnic, EP Republic Limited, to attend this event again.”
Samaritans’ presence at Electric Picnic will complement its regular service – its freephone helpline 116 123 or email [email protected]