Samaritans Awareness Day falls on the 24th July (24/7) each year to highlight the fact that the national charity helpline is there to listen to people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year.
The Talk to Us campaign runs throughout the month of July in conjunction with the awareness day. It aims to remind the public that the Samaritans are available for anyone who needs someone to speak to.
Talk to Us sees local events held at Samaritans branches throughout the UK and Ireland each year. The key message is that the charity is there to help anyone who is struggling to cope, at any time of the day or night.
It follows Mental Health Awareness Week, which was held in May, and Stress Awareness Month in April.
Talk to us and join the call for ‘ambitious action’ on suicide
People can join in the conversation and help raise awareness by posting on social media with the hashtag #TalkToUs or #SamaritansAwarenessDay. The Samaritans also have downloadable social media assets and printed materials, such as leaflets and posters.
Importantly, it should be remembered that anyone who is struggling can contact the Samaritans at any time, from any phone, by calling 116 123.
In addition to July’s Talk to Us campaign, Samaritans are also calling on the government to take “ambitious action” for suicide prevention in England.
The Saving Lives Can’t Wait campaign is petitioning the government, specifically the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, to protect vital community funding for suicide prevention and “take the ambitious action needed to drive suicide rates down to the lowest ever recorded.”
The charity cites the fact that suicide rates in England are as high now as they were two decades ago; revealing that no progress has been made.
They say this is unacceptable and that: “Suicide prevention funding that local communities in England rely on is ending at the same time as the Government is promising a bold new national strategy to save lives from being lost to suicide. This just doesn’t add up.”
The charity’s CEO, Julie Bentley, says:
“Saving lives can’t wait and I am pleased that the Government has listened to Samaritans’ calls for a dedicated suicide prevention strategy, but it will be totally meaningless without funding to back it up. So far there is no sign of the money needed to drive suicide rates down to their lowest level ever, which simply must be the goal.”
The Samaritans are calling on the government to:
- Aim to achieve the lowest national suicide rate ever recorded
- Ensure all government departments take responsibility for the impact they may have on suicide risk
- Provide proper funding for all local and national suicide prevention activity
- Address the impact of economic inequality in suicide
- Work closely with local government
Awareness campaigns help save lives
The Samaritans carry out a lot of work to influence local and national suicide prevention strategies, working with governments across the UK and Ireland. They also run a number of other campaigns, such as their Small Talk Saves Lives and Real People, Real Stories campaigns.
Small Talk Saves Lives was launched in 2017 in partnership with Network Rail, the British Transport Police and the wider rail industry. It has raised awareness about the risk of suicide within railway stations and other public settings and the need for members of the public to trust their instincts and try to start a simple conversation with someone if they think they may need help.
Real People, Real Stories is supported by the NFU Mutual Charity Trust and the Scottish Government and aims to encourage men in rural communities who are struggling to cope to seek much-needed help and support.
The charity says that men in rural areas:
- Are less likely to reach out for support if they’re struggling
- Report that stigma around mental health is the biggest barrier to them seeking help
- Say that not knowing who to turn to is another major barrier
The campaign features real-life stories from men who have struggled with their mental health and thoughts of suicide.
Jim McLaren MBE, a farmer and the Chairman of NFU Mutual says that recent years have been “changeable and challenging for the rural community,” and added that it was “vital that we encourage farmers and men in particular to seek help if they require it.”
Talk to Us – and seek training in mental health and suicide
First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider delivering courses in subjects such as health and safety, first aid, fire safety, manual handling, food safety, mental health, health and social care and more.
An accredited Mindful Employer themselves, FRT’s specialist mental health training courses include Understanding Mental Health, Mental Health Awareness in the Workplace, Managing Stress, Anxiety and Phobias Awareness, Self-Harm Awareness and Suicide Awareness.
They can also provide qualified, approved trainers to deliver accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training courses, including the Adult, Youth and Lite versions.
A trainer from FRT says:
“Figures show that suicide was the cause of 6,319 deaths in Britain in 2021. This equates to more than 120 people every week, and suicide is three times more common among men than women, with this gap between the genders widening over time.
“Although suicide rates have fallen by just over a quarter (28%) since 1981, the majority of this fall happened before the year 2000, while deaths spiked upwards in 2021, with a higher suicide rate recorded that year than in 2005-2012 or 2016-2017.
“All this serves to underline the importance of the work the Samaritans do to support people, raise awareness and campaign for more help and funding.
“Training in mental health awareness, and specifically in Suicide Awareness and prevention can be a really important step for individuals to empower themselves to offer critical help and support when it is needed most for loved ones, colleagues or even members of the public.”
You can also download our free Guide to Mental Health Training from our website.
For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.