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THE P RTAL


August 2012 Here am I Lord


THE PORTAL talks to A Samaritan John from the Midlands


THE SAMARITANS grew out of the experience of the Revd Chad Varah in the years following the Second World War. An Anglican priest living in South London, he set up the charity to assist the depressed and suicidal. From those early days Samaritans has grown a great deal. Tey now have 201 branches in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.


According to their web-site www. samaritans.org, their purpose is:


“to enable persons who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those who may be at risk of suicide, to receive confidential emotional support at any time of the day or night from appropriately trained Samaritans in order to improve their emotional health and to reduce the incidence of suicide; and to promote a better understanding in society of suicide, suicidal behaviour and the value of expressing feelings which may otherwise lead to suicide or impaired emotional health”.


Samaritan for fifteen years John (62 and single) is a member of the


Ordinariate living in the midlands. He has been a Samaritan for the past fiſteen years. He tells us his story in his own words.


“Although I am a native of London, I


have lived in the Midlands for seventeen years now. Te Samaritans saved the life of a dear friend of mine and I saw the work they do and was attracted top it, but did not have the time to offer myself.


Information Day, then selection Later, when I moved to the Midlands


I offered myself as a Samaritan. First of all, I went on an Information Day, then selection. Tis was a series of informal interviews as well as activities. Te training lasted ten to twelve weeks and


was one evening a week. I think now aſter six weeks you go on shiſt and training continues there. You get to listen-in to the callers and the volunteers.


You have a personal Mentor for as long


you want them. We try to make the most of everyone, but we do turn people down sometimes. More oſten it is the volunteer who decides it is not for them. Te drop out rate can be as high as 50%.


The suicide question We are there to listen to callers and help


them explore their feelings, but we never give advice. Te most difficult part is asking the suicide question, remembering not to give up on the caller. It helps if the caller leads you to ask the question with what they telling you.


Not give up on the caller It may happen that the call becomes


personal to you, then you call in a colleague for support or the last straw would be to terminate the call. Having said that, you should not give up on the caller, but you might call in your Leader, or even the Director. If the caller is underage, the Director is always informed.


Everything is confidential We do not refer people to other


agencies. We do not record any calls. Everything is confidential to the Samaritans, not to the volunteer. Quite oſten the caller does not start to talk about what is troubling them. Tey will talk about


anything but the thing that


troubles them. It may come right at the end of the call, or as an aside.


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