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World Suicide Day time to set goals as Samaritans short on listeners

Sep 9th, 2014 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, Most Popular, News

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SAMARITANS Wellington has a goal of raising $150,000 to train more volunteers who can help prevent suicide.

September 10 is World Suicide Day and Samaritans take on average 52 calls a day from people who are feeling depressed, lonely or suicidal.

They are raising funds through a text to donate campaign until November 22.

Samaritans receives 19,000-20,000 calls each year and cannot answer all of them.

Samaritans’ deputy chair, Carolyn O’Fallon says Samaritans is different because it offers a 24-hour listening service rather than a counselling service.

“Sometimes people just want someone to listen to them so they can feel connected.

“Samaritans is here to listen and connect,” Dr O’Fallon says.

Samaritans has been operating for almost 50 years as a non-profit organisation and relies solely on the generosity of individuals, trusts and foundations for the thousands of dollars needed each year to continue the service.

Dr O’Fallon says if they could raise $150,000 then they would be able to train more volunteers, answer more calls and raise greater awareness.

“It’s not just young people calling in, there’s a wide range of people who feel the need to talk to us,” she says.

For the year ending June 30 there has been 529 suicides throughout New Zealand, 110 of them were under 24, and 97 were over 60.

The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is “one world connected”.

Dr O’Fallon says forming connections with callers who are suffering is important. “When people connect with others it can go a long way to preventing suicide,” she says.

Text 2014 to 2446 to donate $3 to the Samaritans.

Call 04 4739 739 or 0800 726 666 to reach the Wellington Samaritans helpline.

 

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is is a Whitireia journalism student
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