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Samaritans Cymru strategic delivery plan: Tackling suicide together
Chapter 1: Foreword
We are sharing our strategy in times of continuing uncertainty. We have experienced a pandemic that has affected us in so many ways, and one that has both highlighted and widened inequalities. Anyone, at any time, can find themselves needing emotional support. We face many challenges as individuals and as a society; including climate change, global conflicts, the negative effects of digital and social media and the need for safety online, the increasing cost of living, and the imperative to tackle exclusion and discrimination. The continuing effects of the pandemic are likely to increase the risk factors for poor mental health and suicide. It is therefore so important that we act on all that we know about how to mitigate those risks. Our purpose, to be there for people in times of need and crisis, is now more critical than ever before.
We are very proud of our dedicated volunteers who deliver our service, and who continued this vital work throughout the course of the pandemic. We’re at the heart of local communities across Wales through our 10 service locations. We work with schools, workplaces, railways, prisons and hospitals to deliver training, provide support and help people turn their lives around. We are building on our pioneering project in Wales to increase our diversity and inclusivity. We will strive to significantly improve our understanding of the challenges faced by marginalised communities, particularly in relation to risk factors for suicide and self-harm. We will act to become more equitable in our services, making sure that we’re responding to people’s needs in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them and their circumstances. We will address barriers in accessing support, including improving access to our own services.
We know that the causes of suicide are complex, and in order to prevent it we need many organisations and individuals to work together. We already partner with a wide range of organisations, including the railways, the prison and probation service, and with third sector and public bodies. We will seek further collaborations over the coming years to increase our reach and relevance to those who need our support.
We are best known for providing human connection to those struggling to cope. We also have a key role to play in influencing awareness, policy and practice in wider society. In Wales we have been an active contributor to, and supporter of, Wales’ suicide and self-harm prevention strategy Talk to me 2. We have also produced reports and recommendations on issues such as self-harm and disadvantage, and we’ve promoted the importance of compassion in responding to distress. In the coming five years we will strive to adapt, expand and improve our unique 24-hour listening service by phone, online chat, email, letter, face to face, and through our Welsh language service. We’ll also grow our campaigning and lobbying work, helping our branches to influence local decision making. We will do more to offer support, tools, resources and services online that help people look after their own emotional health and wellbeing, whilst helping them understand more about suicide and how to support others. We will continue to encourage, promote and celebrate those moments of connection between people that can protect and save lives.
To address the causes of suicide and self-harm we must take more meaningful action to challenge discrimination and injustice, working hand in hand with people affected by both. It’s crucial we take steps as a nation to identify and address the social determinants of poor mental health. Suicide is a major public health issue, but is also a major inequality issue.
We’ve worked closely with our volunteers, staff, supporters and partner organisations, as well as people who have had suicidal thoughts or have been affected by suicide, to shape a strategy that builds on everything we’ve learned over the years. In Wales, we’re building on the strong foundations of a developed national presence, a track record of recognition of our service, our branches and local activity, and of policy influence and research.
We invite you to join us in this next chapter of our journey as we continue to respond to a changing world, and as we innovate to keep up with new demands and opportunities, and as we ensure that support is there for people when they need it most. Our understanding of the vital role of listening, compassion and human connection informs all that we do and will guide us as we meet the challenges ahead.
About this document
The Samaritans Cymru Strategic Delivery Plan 2022–24 should be read alongside the Samaritans 2022–27 strategy which set outs the direction of travel for our organisation across all five jurisdictions in which we operate: England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The two-year delivery objectives set out in this document are specific to Wales and will be delivered alongside wider UK and Republic of Ireland developments to meet our aim, that fewer people die by suicide.