Samaritans Awareness Day is an annual campaign held every July 24 to underline the importance of lending an ear to those who are going through mental health problems.
The charity is encouraging people to become better listeners.
Samaritans Awareness Day on Sunday is a great time to start and pledge to become a better listener.
Depression is one of the world’s most severe mental disorders and is expected to affect up to approximately 280 million individuals worldwide – with 4.5 per cent of adults in the United Kingdom suffering from it. Depression affects each person differently and is individual to that person. As a result, Samaritans Awareness Day seeks to emphasize the necessity of listening to people who are depressed or may be having thoughts of life not worth living or have suicidal feelings.
The reasons for depression range widely from issues such as stress, family, societal pressures, anxiety, financial worries, loneliness, loss, and disillusionment.
Suicidal thoughts can arise when one concludes that they are ultimately not strong enough to deal with these problems, and therefore question their purpose of living.
While depression is often unnoticed, its effects are profound, impacting one’s capacity to function, operate, socialise, and develop.
You do not have to be suicidal to contact the Samaritans. The aim of Samaritans is to reduce the number of deaths by suicide by providing a safe place for you to seek support and understanding.
Marie, director of Samaritans, said: “Recognising the signs of depression is never easy and admitting to yourself that you need help and support can be difficult for you to admit and accept.
“Depression is still treatable, despite the fact that it is a serious and crippling sickness.
“If you know someone who is depressed or has suicidal thoughts, it is critical that you listen to them or if you need to seek help from a doctor.
“If you need support or a listening ear then a Samaritans volunteer is always available.
Contact us free on 116 123 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be listened to without judgement and supported as you work through all of your options.”
Volunteers with Samaritans are well trained in the art of listening but anyone can become a better listener.
The key to being a good listener is to pause and consider why the individual is having these feelings. Not interrupting their request or pointing out errors in their explanation can help them open up and feel heard.
It’s important to be non-judgmental in your approach. Doing so can help the person develop a sense of security that assures them that there is somewhere or someone safe to confide in while you work on your mental health.
Marie concluded: “It’s important to remember that recovery is a journey and it won’t always be straightforward.
“You may feel that you’re not making progress or are taking backward steps.
“It may be helpful to focus on learning more about yourself and developing ways to cope that work for you, rather than trying to get rid of every symptom of your mental health problem.
“What recovery means to you will be personal and unique to you, but for most people the most important thing is to find ways to live the kind of life you want and remember that support is always available.”
July 24 (24/7) is Samaritans Awareness Day because the charity is there to listen 24/7.
On this date and throughout July it will be running an awareness-raising campaign, Talk to Us, to remind people that it is there for anyone who needs someone to listen.
Every year in July, Samaritans branches in the UK and Republic of Ireland hold local events to raise awareness that Samaritans is there to listen to anyone who is struggling to cope, at any time of the day or night.
To raise awareness of the service provided by Samaritans, volunteers in Ballymena will be joining other volunteers who will be taking part in a walk around all of the branches in Ireland on Sunday – both sides of the border.
Look out for them as they walk from Clotworthy House to the lough and then gather for a picnic. Please come over and say hello.
n If you would like to find out more about the service provided by Samaritans contact the Ballymena branch on 028 2564 4846 daily between 7.30pm and 10pm or email email@example.com for more information.
n Samaritans has eight branches throughout Northern Ireland which can be contacted in confidence, 24 hours a day, on 116123.
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