The last two years have been unlike any we have encountered. Life across Ireland has changed in ways we could never have imagined. For many people, it has been very challenging and continues to be so.
Across our 21 branches and through our 2,000 volunteers across the island of Ireland, Samaritans have continued to provide a listening ear for anyone who is struggling.
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 team, we are able to keep our helpline services open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The hope our volunteers provide saves lives. We cannot thank them enough for their dedication and support.
This week Samaritans Ireland is launching its new five-year national plan, which aims to ensure fewer lives are lost to suicide throughout Ireland. The Strategic Delivery Plan for Ireland - Tackling Suicide Together: providing a safe place in uncertain times – puts our callers and volunteers at the centre and heart of everything we do, and everything we want to achieve.
Over the next five years, Samaritans will focus on six priority areas - access, reach, impact, capacity, sustainability, and governance. We will amplify our life-saving impact in society, bringing our listening service to as many people as possible. We will continue to be there for others when they need us, while at the same time increasing our influence on public policy, legislation, institutions, and services.
With our new strategy, we want to do as much as we possibly can to reduce the levels of distress, anxiety, isolation, and hopelessness that lead people to contact us in the first place.
From our direct work with people, and research we have undertaken over the years, we know that structural inequities, poverty, addiction, homelessness, poor physical health, isolation, discrimination, and the denial of people's basic human rights are all factors fuelling poor mental health across the island of Ireland.
We know people living in some of the most economically deprived communities of Ireland are much more likely to take their own life than those in the wealthiest communities. We know we have a responsibility to those people and communities. It is incumbent upon all of us within Samaritans Ireland to provide support where we can, and speak out on these issues when we can.
We will work hand in hand with our colleagues in the NGO sector, and our funders, in particular the National Office for Suicide Prevention, to ensure our work is relevant and supportive of national policy objectives, bringing Samaritans’ expertise, knowledge, and resource to the ongoing response to suicide prevention across the island of Ireland.
Over the lifetime of this plan, opportunities will present themselves to all of us to make real and lasting change and ensure that fewer lives are lost to suicide. We need to grasp those opportunities and make sure they do not slip away from us.
As Samaritans we commit to:
- Building our volunteering offer, becoming more reflective of the communities we serve, diversifying access and sustaining our listening service for all those who need us.
- Working collaboratively with those who have experience of suicide, self-harm, and marginalisation; with our supporters, volunteers, and staff; with colleagues across many other sectors in order to influence local, regional, and national responses to suicide prevention.
- Pooling our expertise with partners in other sectors to build our understanding of risk factors for suicide and campaign for change so that fewer people reach the point of distress or despair.
- Promoting our range of services with workplaces, schools, communities, media, and civic leaders to support positive intervention and reductions in suicide on the island of Ireland.
A life is lost to suicide almost every day in Ireland. Each life lost is a tragedy. Someone’s son, daughter, parent, friend, or colleague, gone from our lives, often leaving families and communities traumatised and struggling to cope with their loss. In these situations, Samaritans are always there to listen and support.
Our goal is to ensure fewer lives are lost to suicide. Our resolve and determination behind this goal will never waver, we will always be there when needed most.
We will achieve this by being available to listen, by bringing evidence and an experienced voice to suicide prevention, by challenging inequity, by promoting the human rights of all people, especially in the areas of access to healthcare, housing, safety, an adequate standard of living, and by working hand in hand with people who need us every step of the way.
For those who are struggling to cope with everyday life, for family or financial worries, those living with loneliness or in isolation, and those who are feeling suicidal, Samaritans are here to listen to you, and support you. Call freephone 116 123, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or email firstname.lastname@example.org Our message is clear and remains the same now as it was 60 years ago - for anyone who needs us, we are here for you, we can help you, you are not alone.